Chris Cornell, lead singer and founding member of 90’s grunge band Soundgarden, unexpectedly passed away last night (Wednesday, 17th May, 2017). His wife and family are said to shocked by his “sudden and unexpected” death; the grunge icon was 52 years old.
Cornell formed Soundgarden in 1984 in Seattle, Washington, along with lead guitarist Kim Thayil and bassist Hiro Yamamoto, with drummer Matt Cameron joining in 1986. In 1988 the band signed with A&M Records, becoming the first of the Seattle grunge scene to join a major label.
Soundgarden went on to become one of the biggest grunge bands in the world – the band’s fourth studio album, Superunknown, debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, eventually going five-times platinum.
In April 1997 Soundgarden announced it was splitting up. Internal conflict, intensive touring and general dissatisfaction had driven the band apart. Cornell went on to release a solo album 2 years later and in 2001 formed the band Audioslave with Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, Tom Commerford and Brad Wilk.
Audioslave became a major success. The bands self-titled debut went triple-platinum and the 2005 follow-up, Out of Exile hit platinum. The band ended in 2007 after Cornell decided to resign. A prolific singer and songwriter, Cornell continued making music, releasing two more solo albums, in 2007 and 2009.
In 2010 Cornell announced the reunion of Soundgarden via his twitter account. A slew of rereleases and live releases followed the announcement. In April of the same year, Soundgarden played its first gig in 13 years, playing in Seattle, the city where it all started for the band. In 2012 the sixth studio album, King Animal, was released. The band had been working on a seventh studio album before Cornell’s untimely passing.
A medical examiner will be looking into the cause of Cornell’s death. The family have asked for privacy during these difficult times.