(DETROIT) — Chris Cornell, solo artist and singer for the rock bands Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of the Dog, has died. He was 52.
In a statement to ABC Radio, his rep said that Cornell died late Wednesday night in Detroit, Michigan. “His wife Vicky and family were shocked to learn of his sudden and unexpected passing, and they will be working closely with the medical examiner to determine the cause,” said the rep.
“They would like to thank his fans for his continuous love and loyalty, and ask that their privacy be respected at this time.”
With his distinctive, clear and powerful voice, Cornell was one of the seminal artists of the late ’80s/early ’90s grunge rock scene in Seattle. Soundgarden, formed in 1984, was the first grunge band to sign to a major label, in 1988. Their 1991 album Badmotorfinger produced the classics “Outshined” and “Rusty Cage,” though its release was somewhat overshadowed by Nirvana’s Nevermind, released that same year.
Also in 1991, Cornell and Pearl Jam members including Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, Mike McCready and Matt Cameron formed the band Temple of the Dog and released a self-titled album as a tribute to their friend Andrew Wood, the singer for the band Mother Love Bone, who had died of an overdose. Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder guest-starred on the album, duetting with Cornell on the single “Hunger Strike.” The song has become a grunge-era classic.
Soundgarden’s true breakthrough was 1994’s Superunknown, which produced the hits “Black Hole Sun,” “Spoonman,” “Fell On Black Days” and “The Day I Tried to Live.” The disc reached #1 and earned the band two Grammy Awards.
In 1996, the band released the album Down on the Upside, but then split in 1997. Cornell released his first solo album, Euphoria Morning, in 1999, and in 2001, he formed the supergroup Audioslave with Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine. They released three albums together before Cornell left in 2007.
Cornell put out two additional solo albums and did a number of soundtrack songs, including the 2006 James Bond Casino Royale theme, “You Know My Name.” In 2010, Soundgarden reformed and in 2012, they released a new album, King Animal. As of July 2016, they were working on a new album. Cornell continued his solo career concurrently; his most recent album was 2015’s Higher Truth.
Cornell is survived by his wife Vicky and their two children: daughter Toni and son Christopher Nicholas. Cornell also has a daughter, Lillian Jean, from his first marriage to Susan Silver, which ended in divorce in 2004.
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