Chris Cornell, the lead singer of Soundgarden who became one of the premiere voices of grunge music, died Wednesday at the age of 52. His representative confirmed the singer’s death in a statement.
“Chris Cornell passed away late Wednesday night in Detroit, MI,” his rep said in a statement. “His wife, Vicky, and family were shocked to learn of his sudden and unexpected passing, and they will be working closely with the medical examiner to determine the cause. They would like to thank his fans for their continuous love and loyalty and ask that their privacy be respected at this time.”
Born in Seattle, Cornell joined a cover band with bassist Hiro Yamamato in the 1980s. In 1984, Cornell and Yamamoto recruited guitarist Kim Thayil and formed Soundgarden, who would release their first single, “Hunted Down,” in 1987. After recording two EPs, the group released their debut album, Ultramega OK, in 1990.
Over the course of six albums, most notably 1991’s Badmotorfinger and 1994’s Superunknown, Soundgarden became one of the most influential rock bands of the past 25 years, with “Spoonman,” “Outshined,” “Rusty Cage” and “Black Hole Sun” becoming perpetual rock hits.
But Cornell’s musical identity extended well past the band. The singer would release five solo albums and three with Audioslave, the latter formed with Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk.
He most recently released “The Promise,” for the upcoming movie about the Armenian genocide of the same name.
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