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Chris Cornell’s Suicide Death Was by Hanging, Medical Examiner Confirms

Soundgarden and Audioslave lead singer died at 52

Chris Cornell — frontman for rock bands Soundgarden and Audioslave — died at 52 from suicide by hanging, a Wayne County, Michigan, medical examiner confirmed to TheWrap on Thursday.

Cornell took his life in his Detroit hotel room following a concert while on tour with Soundgarden.

In a statement to the Associated Press, Cornell’s representative Brian Bumbery said his death was “sudden and unexpected.”

The performer first came to fame in the late ’80s as the lead singer of Soundgarden, the Seattle-based group at the forefront of the grunge rock movement along with fellow Seattle bands Nirvana and Pearl Jam.

He also contributed the song “Seasons” to Cameron Crowe’s 1992 movie “Singles” and appeared on screen with other members of Soundgarden in the director’s cinematic ode to the Seattle music scene.

Soundgarden disbanded in 1997 but reunited in 2010 and has toured regularly since then.

From 2001-07, Cornell also performed with Audioslave, a band that included Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk.

Soundgarden won two Grammy Awards in 1995, for Best Metal Performance (“Spoonman”) and Best Hard Rock Performance (“Black Hole Sun”).

The latter song carried Cornell’s signature style, with unconventional chord progressions and large melodic interval jumps.

Cornell had a long battle with substance addiction, describing himself in a 2009 interview with The Guardian as “a pioneer” in his use of the opiate OxyContin in the years after Soundgarden first disbanded that led to a stint in rehab.

“It was the most difficult period of my life,” he told the paper. “I’m lucky I got through it.”

Nigel M. Smith and Tim Kinneally contributed to this report.