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The Journal Gazette

  • Cornell FILE - In this July 29, 2015 file photo, Chris Cornell plays guitar during a portrait session at The Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills, Calif. Cornell, 52, who gained fame as the lead singer of the bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, died at a hotel in Detroit and police said Thursday, May 18, 2017, that his death is being investigated as a possible suicide. (Photo by Casey Curry/Invision/AP, File)

Friday, May 19, 2017 1:00 am

Soundgarden singer Cornell hangs self

Associated Press

DETROIT – Chris Cornell, a lauded and respected contemporary lead singer in hard rock music over the last 30 years with bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, hanged himself Wednesday in a Detroit hotel room, according to the city's medical examiner. He was 52.

Cornell's death stunned family and fans, who Cornell just performed for hours earlier at a show in Detroit. Soundgarden's current tour kicked off in late April and was planned to run through May 27.

Cornell was a leader of the grunge movement with Seattle-based Soundgarden – with whom he gained critical and commercial acclaim – but also found success outside the band with other projects, including Audioslave and film soundtracks.

Cornell, who grew up in Seattle, said he started using drugs at age 13 and was kicked out of school at 15. But at 16 he grew serious about music, learning to play the drums while also working as a busboy and dishwasher.

He eventually became a Grammy winner with Soundgarden, formed in 1984 and coming out of the Seattle music scene that included Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains.