Music lost a legend on Wednesday, May 17, when rocker Chris Cornell died at the age of 52. His death was ruled a suicide. The musician, who fronted bands such as Soundgarden and Audioslave over nearly three decades, is credited with shaping the grunge rock movement of the early 1990s. Us Weekly Video looks back at some of Cornell’s greatest moments in music in the video above.
When Cornell formed the band Temple of the Dog in 1990, the group featured a collection of scrappy Seattle musicians, including future Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder. Their first single, “Hunger Strike,” features the two rockers in impeccable vocal form. The song hit No. 7 on Billboard‘s Alternative Songs chart.
Cornell was already four albums deep with his band when they released “Spoonman” in 1994. Considered one of Cornell’s most iconic songs, it was Soundgarden’s first single to chart on Billboard and won the Grammy for Best Metal Performance in 1995. A tribute to Seattle street musician Artis the Spoonman, the Cornell-penned track featured Artis on the record, adding his own percussive beats.
As previously reported, Cornell was found dead in his Detroit hotel room after performing a sold-out concert at the Fox Theatre with Soundgarden. In a statement to Us Weekly, the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that “the cause of death has been determined as suicide by hanging.”
In April, Cornell visited CBS This Morning and appeared to be in high spirits, and even teased a new Soundgarden album. “It’s exactly in the works,” Cornell said. “One of the things we did when we got back together was decide to never put a clock on what we do. Which I think has been really helpful in it always being a positive experience.”
In that CBS Sunday Morning appearance, Cornell performed an acoustic version of “Black Hole Sun,” Soundgarden’s chilling 1994 anthem. It would end up being one of his final appearances on network TV.
Watch that haunting performance, as well as Cornell’s other iconic music moments, in the video above.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to be connected to a local crisis center for confidential emotional support.