By Jon Wiederhorn
Chris Cornell, vocalist for Soundgarden, Audioslave and an active participant in the Seattle music scene since the early ’80s died Wednesday night after a concert in Detroit. He was 52.
Michael Woody, Director of Media Relations for the Detriot Police Department, confirms to Radio.com that the death is being investigated as a possible suicide, but that the cause of death has not yet been determined by the medical examiner.
Soundgarden launched a North American tour on April 28 in Tampa Florida and were scheduled to remain on the road through May 27. In a statement to CNN, the band’s publicist, Brian Bumbery, called Cornell’s death “sudden and unexpected.”
“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,” reads the statement. “They would like to thank his fans for their continuous love and loyalty and ask that their privacy be respected at this time.”
Cornell, who was known for his dynamic vocals, which ranged from a soft melodic croon to a window-shattering scream, started his career with the cover band the Shemps, which also featured bassist Hiro Yamamoto and later, guitarist Kim Thayil. When the band broke up, Cornell formed Soundgarden in 1984 with Thayil, Yamamoto and drummer Scott Sundquist. The band’s first single appeared on the 1986 CZ compilation, Deep Six, which is widely considered one of the first albums to feature Seattle’s “grunge” sound.
Soundgarden’s debut EPs Screaming Life came out in 1987 and was followed by the EP Fop. The band’s full-length debut, Ultramega OK, was released in 1990. The band followed with five more releases, including their 2012 album King Animal, which followed a 15-year hiatus. Cornell also released five solo albums and recorded three albums with Audioslave.