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Chris Cornell: 1964-2017

Soundgarden - Bill Graham Civic. San Francisco, CA.

Chris Cornell performs with Soundgarden at the Bill Graham Civic in San Francisco. 2011. Photo by Clay Lancaster.

Singer Chris Cornell (Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, Audioslave) was found dead in his MGM hotel room following almost immediately after Soundgarden’s tour stop in Detroit. Reports are now indicating he had committed suicide by hanging.

Found just after midnight on the bathroom floor, Cornell was unresponsive and pronounced dead at the scene. A family friend was asked to check on the singer.

In a statement by representative Brian Bumbery:

“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… They would like to thank his fans for their continuous love and loyalty and ask that their privacy be respected at this time.”

Cornell had taken to twitter just before the Detroit set, sounding excited and optimistic: “#Detroit finally back to Rock City!!!! @soundgarden #nomorebullshit”

However journalist Ashley Zlatopolsky with the Detroit Free Press reports a slightly more uneasy observation that something clearly wasn’t right:

“He often staggered back-and-forth across the stage, and seemed weak in his movements. Just one or two songs in, it was as if the energy had exited his body, and what was left was a shell of a man scrambling to do his job… He missed words, sometimes in entire blocks, letting the crowd sing the parts of the songs he didn’t…

Cornell was visibly agitated at times. He walked off the stage for several minutes before playing “Been Away Too Long,” causing the band to start over and leaving them playing instrumentals to fill the gap. When he came back onstage, he made a “move it along” motion with his hand.”

The loss of Chris Cornell is being felt all over the world today, and his absence leaves another gaping hole in what’s left of the legendary 90’s Alternative scene.

All photos by Clay Lancaster.