Chris Cornell 1965-2017

Soundgarden frontman and guitarist dies after Detroit show

By Gary Graff
May 18, 2017

The music world is in complete shock after the “sudden and unexpected” death of Soundgarden singer-guitarist Chris Cornell early Thursday morning (May 18) after the group’s concert at Detroit’s Fox Theatre. Cornell’s body was found in his room at the MGM Grand Casino Hotel near the venue. The Wayne County Medical Examiner ruled it a suicide by hanging after investigation.

During Wednesday night’s show, he inserted a bit of Led Zeppelin’s “In My Time of Dying” into the final song, “Slaves & Bulldozers.” Cornell appeared to be in both fine voice and form throughout the concert, however, hitting all the right screams and playing guitar for most of the show as the Seattle quartet tore through a two-hour set mixing favorites with deeper cuts such as “Hunted Down,” “Mailman” and “Kickstand.” He frequently complimented the sold-out Detroit crowd, telling it that: “I have bragged about Detroit crowds for 30 years…There’s no other crowd that never, ever disappoints.”

Led Zep’s Jimmy Page was among the first to react on Twitter, posting: “RIP Chris Cornell. Incredibly talented. Incredibly Young. Incredibly Missed.” Mark Tremonti tweeted that: “Chris was the most influential singer to me as a writer. I just saw him perform days ago. Completely devastated.” Jane’s Addiction’s Dave Navarro added: “SO SO stunned to hear about Chris Cornell. Such a terrible and sad loss! Thinking of his family tonight. RIP.”

The Seattle-born Cornell co-founded Soundgarden 1994 as part of the burgeoning Pacific Northwest grunge rock scene and fronted the band through six studio albums and a pair of Grammy Awards. He was also part of Temple of the Dog, a tribute band to friend and fellow Seattle singer Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone, and fronted the band Audioslave with members of Rage Against the Machine.

Cornell released four solo albums, most recently Higher Truth in 2015, performed the theme song for the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale and received a Golden Globe Award nomination for “The Keeper” from the film Machine Gun Preacher.

Cornell is survived by his second wife, Vicky Karayiannis, with whom he has a young son and daughter. He had a teenage daughter from his first marriage.