(CNN)Chris Cornell, lead singer of Soundgarden and Audioslave, hanged himself, the Wayne County (Michigan) Medical Examiner’s Office announced Thursday in a statement.
The cause of death has been determined as suicide by hanging, the statement said, adding that a “full autopsy report has not yet been completed.”
Cornell, 52,died Wednesday night after performing in Detroit.
A family friend called 911 around midnight Thursday after he went to check on Cornell and found the musician “unresponsive” on the bathroom floor at the MGM Grand hotel, Detroit police spokesman Michael Woody said. Emergency medical personnel arrived, and Cornell was pronounced dead at the scene, he said.
Cornell was in Detroit performing with Soundgarden on a US tour that kicked off last month. His passing was “sudden and unexpected,” his representative, Brian Bumbery, said in a statement to CNN.
“His wife Vicky and family were shocked to learn of his sudden and unexpected passing, and they will be working closely with the medical examiner to determine the cause,” the statement read. “They would like to thank his fans for their continuous love and loyalty and ask that their privacy be respected at this time.”
The Grammy-winning rocker had performed Wednesday night at the Fox Theatre in Detroit. He ended his performance with a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “In My Time of Dying.”
“Full set with an encore. Nothing odd. Outstanding performance,” Bill Lowe of Port Clinton, Ohio, said, describing the show in a text message to CNN.
The grunge era
Cornell began his career in the Seattle rock scene. In 1984, he formed the band Soundgarden, which was influential in the grunge-rock movement of the early 1990s.
The group disbanded in 1997 and released a greatest hits compilation the same year.
The breakup wasn’t anything unusual, Cornell told CNN in 2012.
“It was just time for a break,” he said.
In 2001, Cornell joined with three former members of Rage Against the Machine to form Audioslave. Their most successful single, “Like a Stone,” released in 2003.
The group’s defining moment was a 2005 concert in Cuba, which at the time was billed as the country’s first outdoor rock concert by an American band.
As the charismatic frontman, Cornell was known for his raw and soulful voice.
He also sang the theme song to the James Bond movie “Casino Royale” and released five solo albums
Remembering the rock star
Soundgarden returned to the stage in 2010 for festival performances and had recently started touring again. The band tweeted Wednesday night a quote from Cornell: “What I look forward to the most…is the camaraderie. It’s what we missed when we weren’t a band.”
Rocker Dave Navarro mourned the loss of Cornell, tweeting: “Such a terrible and sad loss! Thinking of his family tonight! RIP.”
Cornell said he offered minimal explanation for his songs because he wanted fans to come up with their own meanings.
“If I write a song and put it out there, it’s not mine anymore,” he told CNN. “It takes on a life of its own, and when you listen to it, it becomes your song. And over the course of generations, those meanings will change.”
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