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.

Comments (30)
  1. Permanent solution to a temporary problem. Sad.

    1. Robb Cochran says:

      True for most of us, unfortunately personal demons prevent some from thinking it through.

  2. Detroit is no doubt a soul-swallowing city. RIP

    1. Ed Guttman says:

      Who the hell is Chris Cornell?
      Obviously some people know. Other than that, gone and forgotten.

  3. I dunno, Something just doesn’t smell right…RIP Chris

    1. Agreed… I wonder what he was up to in his private life that someone didn’t like… I don’t trust anything ANY media outlet says any longer.

    2. Cant imagine auto-erotica is really worth it.

  4. I got $20 that says this is a case of death by auto-erotic asphyxiation. Any takers?

    1. Robb Cochran says:

      David Carradine and Michael Hutchence will match that and raise you $40

  5. Detroit has the same effect on me.

  6. I guess that Pretty Noose really IS Pretty Tight! RIP Chris.

  7. I’m sorry, but it’s hard to have much regard for anyone who could be so selfish. As anyone does, he owed it to his true friends and loved ones to stick it out and get help.

    As an aside, I find it to be an interesting coincidence that almost every singer of every original “Grunge” band – arguably the most depressing and hideous form of “Rock” ever devised – has, at this point, committed suicide. I knew there was validity to my opinion that there was a distinct acute sickness behind the genre.

    1. Only the living have a reference to selfishness. For those who live with serious depression, especially high functioning people, living life as long as he did, doing all the things he did, was a painful selfless life.

      Those who call it selfish are too shallow to know you dont have a right to another mans life, not your mothers, not your fathers, not your son, daughter or spouse…Its selfish to believe you have a say or any concept in or of another persons life, frame of reference or internal pain. Selfish is anger at someone else’s pain that was so intense they committed an act that is considered much harder than murder just to stop the pain. And you have no clue if you have never been there.

      So Mr. Kasian, do you think Robin Williams was a Grunge fan?

  8. I was a fan, but what a selfish rat. He had 2 young kids.

  9. Another ritual human sacrifice in the music industry to traumatize the population.

  10. Steve Wilson says:

    He did NOT “hung” himself he “hanged” himself.

  11. James Murray says:

    Well that sucks. Probably sparking up a big doob right now with Cobain.

  12. I can only wonder if the dude was on and SSRI, anti-depressant.

    1. I was wondering the same, Lynx. I don’t believe anything the media says…

  13. Poor Chris HANGED himself…..

  14. Tou Parish says:

    I promise you folks, this goes very deep and unseen. Most likely issues with his wife/family or a general feeling of “been there, done that.” I can relate.

  15. hitrestart1 says:

    Life without God is life without Hope.

  16. John Seymore says:

    “You’ll Know My Name” from the Bond movie, Casino Royale is fantastic.

  17. So after a sold out show, to come down from that high Chris accidentally kills himself beating off…. What an embarrassing way to go.

  18. Regardless of how he died, this is a loss in the rock music world. He was one of those guys that could move from super group to super group and still stood out as an individual spectacle.

    There was no other voice like his, sometimes shrill and painful and other times exciting and inspiring. But nearly 4 octaves.

  19. somewhere with Layne and Kurt….

  20. Stehr Va says:

    I have never heard of him or his music. He certainly was not mainstream. But all day we have been reading and hearing about it and the fact that he was happy and in great spirits. Obviously people around him had no idea what was going on.

  21. Great musical talent lost at an early age. What a shame! RIP Chris Cornell

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