If you woke up to the news that Chris Cornell died last night, then you probably also woke up to the feeling of your teenage heart shriveling up and turning to dust. Your teenage self who spent many a night painting your nails black as Chris’ powerful voice hit you hard just broke in two. Chris Cornell, the frontman of Soundgarden and Audioslave, was found dead in his hotel room in Detroit last night. The police believe he committed suicide. He was 52. (Update: The Associated Press says that the Medical Examiner determined that Chris Cornell committed suicide by hanging himself.)
WDIV says that earlier in the night, Chris performed at a sold out show with Soundgarden at the Fox Theater. He (or someone from his team) tweeted about the show just hours before he died. Chris’ wife, Vicky Karayiannis, reportedly called a family friend and asked them to check up on him at his hotel. The friend had to force his hotel room door open and apparently found Chris on the bathroom floor.
Chris Cornell was born in the epicenter of grunge, Seattle, Washington, and in the early-1980s, he formed a cover band called The Shemps with his friend Hiro Yamamoto, and later Kim Thayil joined after Hiro left. Once The Shemps broke up, Chris, Hiro and Kim gave birth to Soundgarden and the band helped to define the sound that is now known as grunge. Soundgarden was the first grunge band to sign with a major record label and they went on to sell millions of records and win two Grammys, including one for Black Hole Sun, the song that to many is the theme song of the mid-90s.
Soundgarden broke up in 1997 and afterward, Chris went solo and released the album Euphoria Morning in 1999. A couple of years later, Chris got together with former members of Rage Against the Machine and created the band Audioslave. Chris was dealing with booze and drug problems at the time and went to rehab. Audioslave made three albums before breaking up in 2007. They reunited this year when they performed at the Anti-Inaugural Ball in DC.
After Audioslave broke up, Chris went back to doing solo stuff before Soundgarden reunited in 2010. They released their reunion album King Animal in 2012 and were working on another one.
Chris had three children, 16-year-old Lillian, 12-year-old Toni and 11-year-old Christopher.
If you really want to get punched in the soul, you can click here to watch Soundgarden do Black Hole Sun in Detroit last night, but below is the video.
Rest in peace, Chris Cornell.