Chris Cornell Cause Of Death: Officials Confirm Soundgarden Singer Killed Himself By Hanging [Updated]
Chris Cornell Cause Of Death: Detroit Police Suspect Soundgarden Singer Committed Suicide

Chris Cornell Cause Of Death: Officials Confirm Soundgarden Singer Killed Himself By Hanging [Updated]

UPDATE 11:40 a.m. ET:

With authorities still looking into rocker Chris Cornell’s cause of death, his wife Vicky spoke to TMZ and stressed that there were no signs her husband was thinking of killing himself, nor signs that he was depressed in any way.

2:23 p.m. ET:

Sadly, it can now be confirmed that Cornell, only 52-years-old at the time of his passing, had taken his own life. The Associated Press reported that a medical examiner had determined that the singer had hung himself in his Detroit hotel room early Thursday morning, hours after Soundgarden played a show at the Fox Theatre. This is consistent with local reports that suggested Cornell was found dead “with a band around his neck.”

Original Report:

Detroit police officials announced Thursday morning that Soundgarden and Audioslave lead vocalist Chris Cornell’s cause of death might have been a suicide.

Early on Thursday morning, music fans were shocked by the news that the 52-year-old Cornell, who, together with Soundgarden, had played a show in Detroit the night before, had suddenly passed away. As the Associated Press wrote, Cornell’s death was described as “sudden and unexpected” by the veteran musician’s representative, though it was also noted that Chris’ family would be working closely with medical authorities to determine how he had passed away.

At the moment, there is no official word on Chris Cornell’s cause of death. However, Detroit Police Department media relations director Michael Woody told Billboard that the frontman might have killed himself, based on the information authorities have gleaned so far on the case.

“When the units arrived they were met by a gentleman who indicated that Chris Cornell had been found in his room. When officers went to the room they found Chris Cornell laying in his bathroom, unresponsive and he had passed away. We are investigating it as a possible suicide but we need to wait on the medical examiner to determine the cause and manner of death.”

Cornell is survived by his wife Vicky Karayiannis-Cornell, their two children Toni, 12, and Christopher Jr., 11, and his 16-year-old daughter with ex-wife Susan Silver, Lillian Jean. He was best-known for his work as lead vocalist and songwriter for the Seattle band Soundgarden, as well as the three albums he recorded with Audioslave, a supergroup that also featured ex-members of rap-rock legends Rage Against the Machine.

On the night before his passing, there seemed to be no clue Chris Cornell’s cause of death would be a suspected suicide. This was the observation made on a separate Billboard article that reviewed Soundgarden’s Wednesday night show at the Fox Theatre in Detroit. For the entirety of the two-hour show, Cornell appeared to be in high spirits, interacting with fans far more than he usually would, and looking happy to be back in Detroit.

Chris Cornell and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello (right) released three albums as part of the supergroup Audioslave. [Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]

“I shot Chris with Soundgarden back in the early ’90s, and sometimes he could seem fairly sullen onstage,” photographer Ken Settle told Billboard.

“But last night, during what I shot, he seemed very upbeat, engaging the audience much more than I remember in the past.”

However, several publications, including Billboard and the Mirror, noted a “macabre irony” in Soundgarden’s choice of final song during their Detroit show – a refrain from Led Zeppelin’s “In My Time of Dying” to close out the band’s own song “Slaves and Bulldozers.” NME observed that this wasn’t the first time the grunge legends had played this Led Zeppelin cover live, but with Chris Cornell gone and his cause of death believed to have come by his own hand, the segue from “Slaves and Bulldozers” to “In My Time of Dying” has suddenly become more poignant, and even eerie, than merely unusual.

At the moment, fans are hoping against hope that Soundgarden’s decision to insert a piece of “In My Time of Dying” into their final song was not a portent of their frontman possibly taking his own life. But a few people who were at the Detroit show, or know friends who went there, took to Reddit to speculate that Cornell may have been subtly trying to bid his fans goodbye.

“But if it (was a suicide), there were some subtle signs. (Cornell) also said, ‘The next crowd won’t live up to this one. They should’ve been at this show.'”

“If it was suicide, I feel like that statement and the In My Time of Dying thing were probably purposeful though. Cornell doesn’t seem to be the type of guy to do or say meaningless things.”

According to Newsweek, Soundgarden was a little more than a week away from completing their ongoing North American tour and had a scheduled performance Friday night in Columbus, Ohio. Official information on Chris Cornell’s cause of death will be released by the Wayne County (Michigan) Medical Examiner’s Office once available, the report added.

[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for EBMRF]

Comments