Singer Chris Cornell, the lead vocalist for the bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, died Wednesday night in Detroit, his representative said. He was 52.
His rep Brian Bumbery told Fox News that Cornell’s death was “sudden and unexpected” and said his wife and family are shocked.
Detroit police say the death of rocker Chris Cornell, the lead singer of the bands Soundgarden and later Audioslave, is being investigated as a possible suicide.
Police spokesman Michael Woody tells The Associated Press on Thursday morning that he can’t provide details on what led investigators to make that determination, but noted there were “basic things observed at the scene.”
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Woody says Cornell died at the MGM Grand Detroit hotel. He says Cornell’s wife called a family friend and asked him to check on Cornell. Woody says the friend forced open a hotel room door and found Cornell on the bathroom floor.
Cornell was one of the leading voices of the 1990s grunge movement with Soundgarden. The band emerged as one of the biggest bands out of Seattle’s emerging music scene, joining the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains.
Formed in 1984 by Cornell, guitarist Kim Thayil and bassist Hiro Yamamoto, Soundgarden’s third studio album, “Badmotorfinger,” in 1991 spawned enormously popular singles “Jesus Christ Pose,” ”Rusty Cage” and “Outshined” — which received regular play on alternative rock radio stations.
Cornell also collaborated with some members of Pearl Jam to form the band Temple of the Dog, which produced a self-titled album in 1991 in tribute to friend Andrew Wood, the former frontman for Mother Love Bone.
Three years later, Soundgarden broke through on mainstream radio with the album “Superunknown,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Record in 1995. It included hit singles “Spoonman,” ”Fell on Black Days,” ”Black Hole Sun,” ”My Wave” and “The Day I Tried to Live.”
Soundgarden disbanded in 1997 due to tensions in the band, and Cornell pursued a solo career. In 2001, he joined Audioslave, a supergroup that included former Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello, Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford. The band released three albums in six years and also performed at a concert billed as Cuba’s first outdoor rock concert by an American band, though some Cuban artists have disputed that claim.
Audioslave disbanded in 2007, but Cornell and Soundgarden reunited in 2012 and released the band’s sixth studio album, “King Animal” in 2012.
In addition to his music, Cornell also became involved in philanthropy and started the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation to support children facing challenges, including homelessness, poverty, abuse and neglect.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.