Elton John, Billy Idol, St. Vincent, and More React to the Death of Chris Cornell
The legendary Soundgarden frontman passed away last night.
Chris Cornell, best known as the frontman of Soundgarden and Audioslave, has died at 52. As first reported by the New York Times, he was found dead after playing a Soundgarden show in Detroit on Wednesday night. Update (5/18, 1:54 p.m.): The Associated Press has reported that Cornell's died of suicide by hanging, per the medical examiner's report. According to the police department, Cornell's wife called a family friend to check on the singer's well-being, and they forced the hotel door open to find Cornell on the bathroom floor.
As Stereogum points out, Soundgarden ended their show last night on a presciently bleak note by playing two songs about death: Badmotorfinger's "Slaves & Bulldozers" and a cover of Led Zeppelin's "In My Time of Dying." Watch footage of Cornell's final performance below.
His influence is difficult to overstate: With Soundgarden—and for a minute, with Temple of the Dog—Cornell was a trailblazing figure in grunge, expanding the boundaries of what you'd think a human voice can accomplish. Soundgarden distinguished itself in a crowded field by pummeling songs about despondency and alienation. Cornell, who suffered from depression since he was a teenager, belted across four octaves like his life depended on it—which makes these reports all the more devastating to hear.
Since the news broke, artists across all genres (and mediums) have paid tribute to the grunge icon on social media. Check out reactions from Jimmy Page, Laura Jane Grace, Questlove, Elton John, Chuck D, and more below.
RIP Chris Cornell
Incredibly Missed. pic.twitter.com/pKNI4tKiXz
— Jimmy Page (@JimmyPage) May 18, 2017
A mutual friend called me and tells me my bro passed away. #RIPChrisCornell You are a great artist Love to Vicki and fam @nilerodgers pic.twitter.com/FhG0fhT0q1 — Nile Rodgers (@nilerodgers) May 18, 2017
It's okay if you don't believe me but I was writing about Chris Cornell in my journal this morning and my guitar strummed a chord on its own — Laura Jane Grace (@LauraJaneGrace) May 18, 2017
AudiHole Son. Damn Chris. Rest In Power. A post shared by Questlove Gomez (@questlove) on
RIP Chris Cornell. Chris was the most influential singer to me as a writer. I just saw him perform days ago. Completely devastated — Mark Tremonti (@MarkTremonti) May 18, 2017
Dear Chris Cornell used to come to my parties n Hollywood n play quietly in th corner until all th woman were literally at his feet listenin — Val Kilmer (@valkilmer) May 18, 2017
Chris Cornell's lyrics + voice have loomed large for me since '94. "Fell on Black Days" now playing in tribute. Damn. May he rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/lVSDCJXX9O — Ava DuVernay (@ava) May 18, 2017
Sad 2 hear of Chris Cornell passing..great singer and artist... another blow…RIP — Billy Idol (@BillyIdol) May 18, 2017
Chris Cornell. One of the greatest voices in rock n roll history. Helped inspire me to evolve and change musically. I'm so sad. RIP BUDDY.. — Butch Walker (@butchwalker) May 18, 2017
Chris Cornell. Damn. Was legit just playing "Outshined" yesterday. Such a loss. — St. Vincent (@st_vincent) May 18, 2017
Chris Cornell rip🙏🏾 https://t.co/oxvHXJbYiV
— QTip (@QtipTheAbstract) May 18, 2017
SO SO stunned to hear about Chris Cornell! Such a terrible and sad loss! Thinking of his family tonight! RIP — Dave Navarro (@DaveNavarro) May 18, 2017
woke up to news about Chris Cornell. i'm crushed. you will be missed Chris. you were so integral to my youth & musical discovery in my life — Into It. Over It. (@intoitoverit) May 18, 2017
can't adequately say just how much i love soundgarden/chris cornell. really important to me as a songwriter/guitarist. so sad about this :( — sadie dupuis (@sad13) May 18, 2017
Sad to hear my friend @chriscornell passed away. A searcher of higher truth has entered the eternal hereafter. Prayers & Love to his family pic.twitter.com/FQDDavq7vc — Yusuf / Cat Stevens (@YusufCatStevens) May 18, 2017