Iconic rock vocalist Chris Cornell was found dead in his hotel bathroom early Thursday morning after taking his own life. A family friend discovered the 52-year-old unresponsive on the bathroom floor just hours after playing a Soundgarden show in Detroit. EMS workers pronounced Cornell dead at the scene.
Soundgarden had been the first band from Seattle's grunge scene to get signed to a major label and helped pave the way for bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains to become the new forebears of rock music. After Soundgarden broke up in the late Nineties, he pursued a solo career. Producer Rick Rubin ended up recruiting Cornell for the band Audioslave — a project pursued by the remaining members of Rage Against the Machine following the departure of singer Zack de la Rocha — and Cornell achieved even greater success, singing on radio hits "Like a Stone" and "Cochise."
In 2010, Soundgarden reunited for new live dates and released what appears to be their final album with Cornell as lead vocalist, 2012's King Animal. Last year, he rejoined the members of supergroup Temple of the Dog, a band that paid tribute to Mother Love Bone's Andrew Wood, who overdosed on heroin at age 24.
In the hours following the news, former bandmates, collaborators, scene friends, tour mates, peers and famous fans have shared memories and shock at the loss of Cornell.
I love you, brother. Thank you for your friendship and your humor and your intellect and your singular and unmatched talent. It was a great honor to know you as a friend and as a band mate. I am devastated and deeply saddened that you are gone dear friend but your unbridled rock power, delicate haunting melodies and the memory of your smile are with us forever. Your beautiful voice and beautiful self will always be in my heart. God bless you and your family.
RIP Chris Cornell— Jimmy Page (@JimmyPage) May 18, 2017
Incredibly Missed. pic.twitter.com/pKNI4tKiXz
Yusuf Cat Stevens:
A shining voice in music has left us in the midnight. He was a complex and gentle soul #ChrisCornell has flown into the black hole sun.— Perry Farrell (@perryfarrell) May 18, 2017
Rage Against the Machine:
SO SO stunned to hear about Chris Cornell! Such a terrible and sad loss! Thinking of his family tonight! RIP— Dave Navarro (@DaveNavarro) May 18, 2017
Dear Chris Cornell used to come to my parties n Hollywood n play quietly in th corner until all th woman were literally at his feet listenin— Val Kilmer (@valkilmer) May 18, 2017
He was such a great song writer and so humble about it. A real artist. And that voice...— Val Kilmer (@valkilmer) May 18, 2017
Rest ...Peace pic.twitter.com/YcN7QECCo0— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) May 18, 2017
So sad about @chriscornell passing. Truly one of the greatest singers of our generation and a kind soul. Thoughts go out to loved ones.— Jimmy Chamberlin (@jccomplex) May 18, 2017
Very sad news about Chris Cornell today. A sad loss of a great talent to the world, his friends and family. Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/BlgxE6cJLH— Joe Perry (@JoePerry) May 18, 2017
Laura Jane Grace:
It's okay if you don't believe me but I was writing about Chris Cornell in my journal this morning and my guitar strummed a chord on its own— Laura Jane Grace (@LauraJaneGrace) May 18, 2017
Sad 2 hear of Chris Cornell passing..great singer and artist... another blow…RIP— Billy Idol (@BillyIdol) May 18, 2017
Chris Cornell. Damn. Was legit just playing "Outshined" yesterday. Such a loss.— St. Vincent (@st_vincent) May 18, 2017
Chris Cornell? Doesn't even seem possible. What an incredible talent. Me and teenage me are both heartbroken.— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) May 18, 2017
Machine Gun Kelly:
we lost Chris Cornell. i dont think im gonna be able to even fake a smile during interviews today. Waking up to that news crushed me.— Young Gunner (@machinegunkelly) May 18, 2017
Shocking news Chris Cornell passing last night in Detroit. Brilliant artist on so many levels. I am in shock. My condolences to his family.— Peter Frampton (@peterframpton) May 18, 2017
RIP. So young. So sad 😞 pic.twitter.com/61JjmdVFDC— Best Coast (@BestCoast) May 18, 2017
Foster the People:
RIP Chris Cornell 💔condolences to @soundgarden & family. We've lost one of the greats. -MF— Foster The People (@fosterthepeople) May 18, 2017
Chris Cornell. One of the greatest voices in rock n roll history. Helped inspire me to evolve and change musically. I'm so sad. RIP BUDDY..— Butch Walker (@butchwalker) May 18, 2017
Chris Cornell had one of the most amazing voices in history. I am sad this morning to hear of his passing. Too young.— Jennifer Nettles (@JenniferNettles) May 18, 2017
Zac Brown Band:
Chris Cornell touched so many & we were fortunate to have worked w/ him. He was a true talent & gentleman. Our thoughts are with his family.— Zac Brown Band (@zacbrownband) May 18, 2017
I AM SO SADDENED BY CHRIS CORNELL PASSING. @soundgarden— GAVIN ROSSDALE (@GavinRossdale) May 18, 2017
TOTAL SHOCK.GREAT MAN.GREAT BAND.GREAT LOSS. LOVE TO EVERYONE IN HIS WORLD. XXX
Chris Cornell was a brilliant vocalist. Incredibly sad news.— Robbie Robertson (@r0bbier0berts0n) May 18, 2017
RIP Chris Cornellhttps://t.co/uXwYPsaFhW— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) May 18, 2017
Chris Cornell's lyrics + voice have loomed large for me since '94. "Fell on Black Days" now playing in tribute. Damn. May he rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/lVSDCJXX9O— Ava DuVernay (@ava) May 18, 2017
STUNNED to hear the death of Chris Cornell. Music's loss. Greater still, his family has lost a father&husband. RIP. https://t.co/5NGC2YCcz1— Paul Stanley (@PaulStanleyLive) May 18, 2017
just shocked to read this. rest in peace and sing with the angels. https://t.co/prElsxjPBg— hayley from Paramore (@yelyahwilliams) May 18, 2017
Chris Cornell rip🙏🏾 https://t.co/oxvHXJbYiV— QTip (@QtipTheAbstract) May 18, 2017
Chris Cornell's death is so shocking & tragic. Soundgarden, his voice, the songs he wrote, a huge influence on my life. Total disbelief.— Joe Trohman (@trohman) May 18, 2017
ANN WILSON: "It's important now to keep thoughts of Chris positive. He is on his way. We loved him well, now wish him well on his journey. He was and is a beautiful soul."
NANCY WILSON: "No one is ever prepared to hear about a death in the family. And today Chris Cornell my brother from my Seattle music family is gone. I thought his voice would forever grace the world of music. Devastating."