Grammy-winning musician Chris Cornell died on Wednesday (May 17) at age 52 just hours after his band Soundgarden performed in Detroit. Brian Bumberry of BB Gun Press confirmed the news: “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.”
Cornell founded Soundgarden in Seattle in 1984. It took a decade before the band broke through. Their fourth album, “Superunknown,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart in March 1994 and included two tracks — “Black Hole Sun” and “Spoonman” — that won Grammy Awards for Best Hard Rock Performance and Best Metal Performance the following year. Their 1996 follow-up disc, “Down On the Upside,” was also a platinum bestseller but the band broke up two years later when Cornell and guitarist Kim Thayill could not agree on a sound.
The band returned with 1996’s “Down but tensions between Cornell and Soundgarden namely over the musical direction of the group, made continuing on untenable and in 1998, Soundgarden announced its split. They reconciled in 2010 and released the acclaimed “King Animal” in 2012.
In the intervening years, Cornell dropped his solo disc “Euphoria Morning” in 1999, which reaped him a Grammy bid for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for the single “Can’t Change Me.” And he co-wrote and performed “You Know My Name” for “Casino Royale” in 2006, which marked the debut of Daniel Craig as James Bond.
Throughout the first decade of this century, he enjoyed great success as part of Audioslave, a super-group that included former members of Rage Against the Machine. Their self-titled debut album went triple platinum in 2003 and “Like a Stone” earned them a Grammy nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance.
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