Update, May 18, 2017: The Associated Press confirms that Cornell’s cause of death has been determined by a medical examiner as a suicide by hanging.
Chris Cornell, the frontman of the Grammy-winning grunge band Soundgarden and later, the supergroup Audioslave, died Wednesday at 52. According to his representative Brian Bumbery, the beloved rocker’s passing was “sudden and unexpected,” occurring while he was in the midst of a tour. The cause of death is currently unknown, though reports say that it is being investigated by police as a possible suicide.
Among the early originators of the Seattle grunge scene that emerged from the 1980s, Soundgarden achieved massive success with the 1994 album Superunknown, which spawned what is perhaps the group’s best-known song, “Black Hole Sun.” Cornell’s soaring, guttural baritone vocals were a trademark, rendered all the more impressive in the video below:
Soundgarden disbanded in 1997, and Cornell went on to form Audioslave in 2001, alongside Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk. Recently, he’d reunited with his former bandmates, and on Wednesday evening, just before his death, Soundgarden played a concert in Detroit.
Since the announcement, an outpouring of tributes has poured in from the music community.