Chris Cornell, Soundgarden and Audioslave singer, has died aged 52 - Elton John and Adam Lambert pay tribute

According to his representative, rocker Chris Cornell, who gained fame as the lead singer of Soundgarden and later Audioslave, has died at age 52.

In a statement to The Associated Press, Brian Bumbery says Cornell died Wednesday night in Detroit.

Bumbery called the death "sudden and unexpected" and said his wife and family were shocked by it. The statement also said the family would be working closely with the medical examiner to determine the cause and asked for privacy.

Cornell was on tour when he died

Chris Cornell, performing in Hyde Park in 2012 - Credit:  AP
Chris Cornell, performing in Hyde Park in 2012 Credit: AP

Cornell was still going strong as a musician, and performed a show in Detroit hours before he died. He was in the middle of a sold-out US tour, that was due to run to 27 May, with six dates left remaining.

Fans in attendance at the Fox Theatre gig captured what would become his last performance on video, and uploaded it to social media.


A post shared by Paul Maricic (@pmaricic) on May 17, 2017 at 10:39pm PDT

He was last pictured by the press was a little over a month ago, at a screening of The Promise in New York with his two daughters. Cornell's latest single, also called The Promise, had been written for the Christian Bale film.

Cornell with his daughters Toni and Lilian Jean - Credit:  Steven Ferdman/REX/Shutterstock
Cornell with his daughters Toni and Lilian Jean Credit: Steven Ferdman/REX/Shutterstock

Cornell's last UK show was just over a year ago, when the star played just the one date in the country, at London's Royal Albert Hall. The Telegraph's James Hall complimented Cornell's performance, saying: "If Jimmy Page should ever look to tour Zeppelin without the reluctant Robert Plant, then this served as a worthy audition".

Hours after news broke of Cornell's death, the venue changed its homepage in tribute.

Royal Albert Hall changes its homepage in tribute to Chris Cornell
Royal Albert Hall changes its homepage in tribute to Chris Cornell

The American singer was one of the founders of the grunge moment in Seattle in the Nineties.

Chris Cornell in Soundgarden in 1990
Chris Cornell in Soundgarden in 1990

Cornell, who sang and played rhythm guitar, formed Soundgarden in 1984 with lead guitarist Kim Thayil and bassist HiroYamamoto. The band were one of the first to sign to record label Subpop, which also took on Nirvana and Mudhoney, and became known for their Grammy Award-winning singles Black Hole Sun and Spoonman.

Cornell had a four-octave range and worked with a number of different artists as a singer and songwriter. Soundgarden broke up in 1997, but reformed in 2010.

In 2001,. Cornell also went on to form supergroup Audioslave, which he fronted alongside former Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk. 


But Cornell forged a successful career as a solo artist and songwriter – including writing the theme for James Bond film Casino Royale.

Corner's struck out alone with 1999 album, Euphoria Morning, which was the first of five solo albums spanning 16 years. His last, Higher Truth, reached the US top 20, following its release in 2015. He toured with Linkin Park and Aerosmith in the late Noughties, and played Hyde Park as recently as 2012.  

Cornell also made a foray into film soundtrack composition, writing the theme for 2006's Casino Royale, You Know My Name, and The Keeper, which appeared in the 2011 film Machine Gun Preacher and earned him a Golden Globe nomination.

Tributes have been coming in from fans and fellow musicians around the world who praised Cornell's voice in particular.

Elton John, Director Ava Duvernay, folk icon Cat Stevens, Adam Lambert and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda were among them.

Culture stars who have died in 2017


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