DETROIT (WWJ) – Rocker Chris Cornell, frontman for Soundgarden and Audioslave, died following a sold out show at the Fox Theatre in Detroit.
A police source talking to WWJ Newsradio 950 Thursday morning said the 52-year-old singer-songwriter was found in the bathroom of his room at the MGM Grand Detroit hotel, after apparently taking his own life.
An autopsy by the Wayne County Medical Examiner later determined Cornell committed suicide by hanging.
According to a source familiar with the investigation, Cornell went back to his room at the MGM after the Soundgarden show; and, shortly after midnight, his wife called a band member and asked if he would check on Cornell. The band member, along with MGM security, broke into the locked room and found Cornell dead with a strap around his neck.
Detroit police spokesman Micheal Woody would not confirm any details, but said “basic things” discovered at the scene led investigators immediately to suspect suicide.
Detroit area music critic Gary Graff, who was at Wednesday’s concert, said he has known and been impressed by Cornell for many years.
“When you make the list of certainly some of the best rock singers, heavy rock singers working now he was one of the best,” Graff told WWJ’s Ron Dewey. “Great vocal range, real charismatic personality on stage, high level of consciousness as a songwriter too.”
“He was one of these guys who could just really dig into his own psyche, his own soul, and write songs and sing songs that so many people could relate to.”
Graff said you couldn’t have told anyone at the show that this was a guy who would not be with us just a few hours later.
“He was great last night, you know. He was at peak powers, his singing was tremendous, he was clearly in a great mood. He was loving being on stage, he was loving being in Detroit,” Graff said. “Several times during the show he talked about how much he loved the city and loved the audience. He said, you know, ‘Detroit, you never disappoint.'”
Freelance photographer Ken Settle was there taking pictures.
“I look at my photos and I look in his eyes, and I’m wondering what’ in his mind,” Settle told WWJ’s Beth Fisher. “And I’m wondering how that experience was for him — his very last time singing on stage. It just seemed kind of profound…the emotion on this face.”
In a statement to The Associated Press, representative Brian Bumbery called the death “sudden and unexpected,” adding that Cornell’s wife and family were shocked by it. The statement said the family would be working closely with the medical examiner and asked for privacy.
Woody said there has been a high level of interest in the case from abroad. “We’ve received calls from London and from several other countries as well that are expressing their condolences.”
Soundgarden was in the middle of a North American tour.
© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.