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Chris Cornell, who helped reignite hard rock in the 1990s with Soundgarden, dies at 52

Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Chris Cornell, an icon of the '90s hard rock grunge movement and the anchor of Soundgarden and Audioslave, was never quiet about his need to perform.

The artist's death at age 52 was reported early Thursday after a Wednesday night Soundgarden concert in Detroit.

The Wayne County medical examiner's office has ruled Cornell's death a suicide by hanging, according to the Associated Press.

Cornell had said he would have led a much quieter life if not for the stage.

"If I didn't do what I do, I think for the most part I would have very few friends and be a shut-in most of the time," he told The Times in 1991. "It's sort of a battle between that person and then the guy that wants to just let it all out in front of 2,000 people and rant and scream and say anything he wants."

Over the following decades, those few thousand fans would become millions as Soundgarden, with Cornell, became one of the most commercially successful rock bands of a generation. Among the band's biggest hits were "Rusty Cage," "Jesus Christ Pose," "Spoonman" and "Black Hole Sun."

 

In a statement to The Times, Cornell's publicist Brian Bumbery wrote that Cornell's wife and family "were shocked to learn of his sudden and unexpected passing."

Sgt. Adam Madera of the Detroit Police Department confirmed that police received a call from the MGM Grand Detroit hotel early Thursday and at 4:05 a.m. discovered Cornell's body on the floor of his hotel room.

Soundgarden, which reunited in 2010, was in the middle of a tour that had taken the band to the Fox Theater in Detroit. It performed a set that included "Blow Up the Outside World," "Spoonman," "Outshined" and other fan favorites.

The band's set list suggested the gig was to conclude with an encore of "Behind the Wheel," according to a photo published by CNN.

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