Music

Chris Cornell dies at 52, death ruled a suicide

US musician Chris Cornell who gained fame as the lead singer of rock band Soundgarden and later Audioslave, died on Wednesday in Detroit. He was 52.

The Wayne County medical examiner's officer said in a statement on Thursday (May 18) that the cause of death was a suicide by hanging. 

Cornell was found dead at the MGM Grand Detroit hotel after his family contacted first responders.

Earlier that night, he had performed with Soundgarden at downtown Detroit's Fox Theatre. He closed the show with Slaves and Bulldozers, but according to fan footage, had inserted lyrics from Led Zeppelin's In My Time Of Dying.

He had previously sung the medley and did not show obvious signs of being suicidal. Soundgarden was scheduled to perform in Columbus, Ohio tonight (May 19) at the Rock on the Range festival.

In the hours leading up to his death, Cornell had been active on social media, including a tweet that indicated Soundgarden had arrived in Detroit. 

Cornell famously struggled with drug abuse and alcoholism throughout his career. He went to rehab in 2003 and has reportedly been sober since.

A statement from the singer’s publicist said his widow, Vicky Karayiannis Cornell, and the rest of the family “were shocked to learn of his sudden and unexpected passing” and thanked fans for “their continuous love and loyalty.”

Tributes also poured in from celebrities including Elton John, Audioslave bandmate Tom Morello and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page. - AFP

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