The world was shocked when news broke out earlier that emblematic grunge rock singer Chris Cornell from the Southgarden band has died. Cornell’s representative first withheld information as to the cause of the singer’s sudden death, saying Cornell’s family was closely working with the medical examiner. Now, it can be confirmed. Chris Cornell died after he hanged himself.
Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office released a statement on Thursday afternoon with the message: “The cause of death has been determined as hanging by suicide.” It also says that a full autopsy report has not yet been completed.
Cornell’s representative Brian Bumbery earlier described Cornell’s passing as “sudden and unexpected.”
Detroit Police Department spokesman Michael Woody said Cornell’s body was found unresponsive in his hotel room at the MGM Grand Detroit hotel after his family has contacted the first responders. The 52-yearl old rock singer has just finished a sold-out concert with his band Soundgarden hours before his death in the city’s Fox Theater. Cornell retired to his hotel room after their performance.
Cornell closed the show with Soundgarden’s song “Slaves and Bulldozers” but footage posted by fans showed the singer inserting lyrics from Led Zeppelin’s “In My Time of Dying.”
If he is sending a message of his desire or plan to take his life with that move is not certain as Cornell had sung the medley before. He has also shown no obvious signs of being suicidal. He was even scheduled to continue their Soundgarden tour and take it to Columbus, Ohio on Friday, May 19. He was also working on new songs with his band the past year.
Cornell struggled with drug and alcohol addiction and went into rehab in 2003. He has sobered up in the mid-2000s. He got back together with Soundgarden in 2010.
In past interviews, Cornell often talked how drug problems seemed to be overlooked by non-famous people. He also commented on the 2015 death of fellow grunge musician and Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland due to the drug overdose. He told a radio station that there was a long history culturally of “not defying, but glamorizing a little bit, ‘the dead guy’, be it a rock star or a famous actor.
Cornell is survived by his three children. It is sadly ironic that his last song “The Promise” had the lyrics: “One promise that always remains/No matter the price/A promise to survive, persevere and thrive.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)