Chris Cornell, lead singer of Soundgarden and Audio Slave, has died at 52-years old. According to his representative in a statement to The Associated Press, Brian Bumbery says the musician died Wednesday night in Detroit.
Bumbery called the death “sudden and unexpected” and said his wife and family were shocked by it. The statement said the family would be working closely with the medical examiner to determine the cause and asked for privacy.
Chris Cornell’s career began with Seattle trailblazers Soundgarden, whose wild soundscapes combined visceral punk attitude with artistic depth. Powerfully original, they were the first of their generation of Seattle bands to sign to a major label in 1989 and their work continued to evolve over the course of seven groundbreaking albums. Soundgarden made a historic return to the live stage in 2010 and have since toured the world, releasing the all-new studio album, “King Animal,” to widespread acclaim.
In 1990, side project Temple of the Dog saw him experiment with a more soulful style alongside the future members of Pearl Jam. Later in the decade, his critically acclaimed solo album “Euphoria Morning” combined lush melody and instrumentation with lyrics which spoke of alienation and despair. And as the millennium turned, he joined with three other musical pioneers from Rage Against the Machine to create supergroup Audioslave. The multi-platinum band released three albums and toured stadiums around the world, becoming the first American rock group to perform a massive free concert in Castro’s Cuba. Cornell has also collaborated with many different artists, most recently the Zac Brown Band on their single “Heavy Is The Head”, which peaked at #1 on rock radio in the US.
His soundtrack work has spanned both big budget and independent cinema. He was the first male American artist to write and perform the theme song for a James Bond movie (“You Know My Name” for Casino Royale). He wrote the end title song for Marvel’s Avengers soundtrack, “Live to Rise,” which was the third highest grossing film of all time. He duetted with Joy Williams on his song “Misery Chain” which appeared on the soundtrack of the Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave and his song “The Keeper” from Marc Forster’s Machine Gun Preacher was nominated for a Golden Globe in 2012.