Enlarge He died while on tour in Detroit.

Soundgarden Singer Chris Cornell Dead at Age 52

  • Axl Rosenberg

Update, 7:37 a.m.: Multiple sources are now reporting that Cornell may have committed suicide. More as we get it.

Iconic Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell has passed away suddenly while on tour with the band. He was just 52.

Reports The New York Times:

“Mr. Cornell died Wednesday night in Detroit, said his representative, Brian Bumbery, in a statement that called the death ‘sudden and unexpected’ and that said the singer’s family would be ‘working closely with the medical examiner to determine the cause.’”

In the last tweet he sent out before his death, Cornell appeared to be in good spirits.

Meanwhile, footage from his (and by extension Soundgarden’s) last-ever performance, which took literally in the hours just before he died, demonstrates that Cornell’s voice was still in top shape. You can watch that footage at the bottom of this post (via Metal Insider).

It would be difficult to overstate the impact Cornell and Soundgarden had on heavy music in their heyday. Soundgarden were inarguably one of THE seminal rock bands of their generation, and out of the alternative/grunge bands they’re associated with, they were certainly one of the most overtly metal (especially before Superunknown made them huge stars). They often sounded like Black Sabbath as fronted by Robert Plant, which, naturally, appealed to a whole lot of us. Like many musicians, Cornell had struggled at various points in his life with addiction, although his public image was never defined by his personal demons the way the public images of so many of his peers were.

Cornell is survived by his wife, Vicky Karayiannis, and three children: Lillian Jean, from a previous marriage to longtime Soundgarden manager Susan Silver, will turn seventeen next month, and his kids with Karayiannis, Toni, age twelve, and Christopher Nicholas, age eleven.

Our thoughts are with all of Cornell’s loved ones during this horrible time. Make sure you crank some Soundgarden (or, heck, Audioslave or Cornell solo work) today in his honor.

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