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Soundgarden Singer Chris Cornell Dead at 52

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Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell has suffered what is being described as a “sudden and unexpected” death at the age of 52.

According to The New York Times, Cornell died last night after the band’s sold-out concert at the Fox Theatre in Detroit. Earlier in the evening, the singer had posted a tweet expressing his excitement about “finally” going “back to rock city.”

The  cause of his death has not been reported, but in a statement, his family said they would be “working closely with the medical examiner to determine” the answer.

Local 4 in Detroit reports that the singer was found dead in his MGM Grand Hotel room after a family friend, acting on a request from Cornell’s wife to check on him, forced open the door and found him in the bathroom with something around his neck. The report also quotes unknown sources as saying the police are considering it a possible suicide.

Eerily, the last song Soundgarden played last night, “Slaves & Bulldozers,” reportedly featured Cornell singing a snippet of “In My Time of Dying,” a Blind Willie Johnson song popularized by artists such as Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin. You can see the band performing a similar version of both songs on YouTube, and see a snippet of last night’s final song above.

Born in 1964 in Seattle, Cornell formed Soundgarden with guitarist Kim Thayil and bassist Hiro Yamamoto in 1984. Drummer Matt Cameron joined in 1986; Yamamoto was replaced briefly by Jason Everman in 1989 and permanently by Ben Shepherd in 1990. The group’s first album Ultramega OK, was released in 1988. 1991’s excellent Badmotorfinger and 1994’s masterpiece Superunknown established them as one of the most important hard rock bands of their generation.

The group broke up in 1997. In 2002, Cornell teamed up with three-fourths of Rage Against the Machine in Audioslave, who released three successful albums over the next four years. Soundgarden reunited in 2010 and released the well-received King Animal in 2012. Cornell also released five solo albums during his career, the most recent being 2015’s Higher Truth, and performed on the Temple of the Dog album along with members of Pearl Jam.

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