Chris Cornell's Last Song Was One About Death

Medical examiner rules suicide by hanging in death of Soundgarden frontman
By Gina Carey,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2017 1:28 PM CDT
Chris Cornell's Last Song Was One About Death
Chris Cornell of Soundgarden performs during the Lollapalooza music festival.   (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

The death of Chris Cornell, frontman of legendary '90s grunge band Soundgarden and later Audioslave, has been ruled "suicide by hanging," reports the Detroit News. The 52-year-old was found in his hotel room hours after a sold-out performance in Detroit when his wife, Vicky Karayiannis, asked a friend to check on him. He was discovered on the bathroom floor in his room at the MGM Grand Detroit, "with a band around his neck," a police department employee tells the Detroit Free Press. The medical examiner issued the suicide determination Thursday afternoon. More coverage related to his death:

  • Final song: According to CNN, the last song Cornell played was about death, a cover of Led Zeppelin's "In My Time of Dying." Opening line: "In my time of dying, I want nobody to mourn." Meanwhile, fans are posting clips from Cornell’s last show, including a full rendition of Soundgarden's hit, "Spoonman." Check out People for more footage.
  • Last tweet: Cornell wasn’t an especially active Twitter user, mostly retweeting posts to his 1.9 million followers. But Gizmodo notes that he posted an enthusiastic tweet ahead of show. "Finally back to Rock City!!!!" it read, with a photo of Detroit’s Fox Theatre’s marquee.
  • Cornell’s legacy: “He was a rock god in every sense.” The Daily Beast’s tribute to Cornell remembers the musician for his powerful voice and pioneering role in Seattle’s grunge movement.
  • Musicians react: "A shining voice in music has left us in the midnight. He was a complex and gentle soul #ChrisCornell has flown into the black hole sun," wrote Perry Farrell on Twitter. Billboard has a rundown of tweets from artists paying their respects, from Gavin Rossdale to Jimmy Page and Billy Joel.
  • 15 'essential' songs: Rolling Stone has a rundown of Cornell’s 15 greatest moments in music throughout his career, including songs from Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, and Audioslave.
  • Lyrical mystery: Among Cornell's top songs is "Black Hole Sun," the runaway hit that won Soundgarden an MTV Music Award in 1994. While it was widely covered, with over 50 versions on Spotify, the BBC reports that Cornell didn't quite know what the song was about: "I was just sucked in by the music and I was painting a picture with the lyrics. There was no real idea to get across."
  • Interview in his heyday: Check out a 1994 interview in Rolling Stone in which Cornell talks about being a "daily drug user" at age 13—before quitting at age 14.
  • Cornell and his wife had two kids, per
(More Chris Cornell stories.)

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