The world of rock music got a terrible shock this morning with the announcement that Chris Cornell, the singer of 90s grunge band Soundgarden, and more recently Audioslave, had died unexpectedly overnight.
Cornell rocketed to fame with Soundgarden in the early 90s thanks to the popularity of grunge rock. Their biggest album, 1994's Superunknown debuted at #1 on the charts and two of their singles from it, "Spoonman" and "Black Hole Sun," won Grammy awards for Best Metal Performance and Best Hard Rock Performance respectively.
After the band's dissolution in 1997, Cornell went solo, releasing his album Euphoria Morning in 1999. In 2001, he teamed up with Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk from Rage Against the Machine to form the band Audioslave. They released three albums between 2002 and 2006, with Cornell officially leaving the band in 2007.
Cornell had a distinctive voice with a truly incredible range. Over the course of his career he released 6 albums with Soundgarden, 3 with Audioslave, 1 with Temple of the Dog - a collaboration between members of Soundgarden and Pearl Jam - and 5 solo albums.
Cornell was also known for his charitable work. He and his wife formed the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation, which aims to support children facing challenges such as poverty, homelessness, and neglect. As well, just this past March, Cornell released a new solo single, "The Promise" with all its proceeds going to the International Rescue Committee, a global humanitarian organization.
Cornell's representative, Brian Bumbery, made the announcement early Thursday morning, saying that the singer had died Wednesday night in Detroit after performing a concert with Soundgarden. Cornell's cause of death has not yet been determined, but Bumbery said his passing was "sudden and unexpected," shocking Cornell's wife and family. His death marks a major loss for the world of music, but we will always have the music he left behind.
UPDATE: Sources in Detroit are reporting that police are investigating Cornell's death as a possible suicide.