Chris Cornell was a prolific American musician, best known for being the lead singer, guitarist, and writer of Audioslave and Soundgarden. His career lasted all the way from 1984 until his death in 2017. During his two-decades-long careers, he became one of the most influential grunge and rock artists. His fame and popularity lasted up until his sudden death. What happened to Chris Cornell that made him decide to commit suicide?
About Chris Cornell
Chris Cornell (born as Christopher John Boyle), grew up in Seattle, Washington. After their parents divorced, together with his siblings, Christ took his mother’s maiden name. Like Chris, most of his siblings were musicians.
His first public performances took place at the Catholic school he attended when she was just a child. At just 12 years old, after dropping out from the school, he started using alcohol and drugs (such as marihuana, shrooms, and acid). He started his music career in the early 80s, playing in a local band called The Shemps. This is where he met Hiro Yamamoto, his future Soundgarden bandmate.
As the band fell apart, he started Soundgarden together with Yamamoto and Kim Thayil. Soundgarden quickly became a huge success, as the grunge scene was developing. Soundgarden became truly huge after they released their fourth studio album, which debuted at the 1st spot of Billboard’s 200. This is the album from which Black Hole Sun comes.
After several more successful years and released, the band split up in 1997. Cornell then turned towards a solo career. He continued with his musical successes both solo and with Audioslave, which was established in 2001. Audioslave released three critically-acclaimed albums during their six-year existence. His solo career lasted up until his death.
Chris also frequently collaborated with Linkin Park and became great friends with its lead singer, Chester Bennington. In 2009, he worked on his last studio album with Timbaland. Cornell called the album the highlight of his career, and Timbaland agreed with him, stating that it’s the best project he ever worked on. However, the album wasn’t critically acclaimed but still passed with the fans.
During the early 2010’s he keeps touring and writing music. On the first day of 2010, he announced that Soundgarden might be reforming. They reformed a few months after and started making appearances and tours. His last studio album was released in 2015, with the last song he ever released is “The Promise”.
Chris Cornell’s Death – What Happened?
Throughout his life, Cornell had problems with various opiates and substances. Even back in 1996, he expressed his suicidal thoughts and opened up about his anxiety and depression. He did eventually manage to overcome his alcohol and drugs usage. At least that’s what everyone believed.
On May 17th, 2017, Soundgarden performed at the Fox Theatre. A day later, he was found unconscious in his hotel room’s bathrooms, with a band around his neck, and mouth filled with blood. Medical staff was unable to revive him, and he was pronounced dead. Suicide by hanging, to be more exact.
His wife Vicky told the press that Chris was slurring words after the show, and acting very strange. He told her that he took a couple of Ativan, a medication used to treat anxiety, sleep disorders, and substance withdrawals. People that have been diagnosed with depression, and have taken Ativan, have been observed to have suicidal thoughts and tendencies.
Cornell’s widow stated that she was positive that Chris did not intend to take his life, and that Ativan influenced him to do that. However, a few weeks after, the coroner stated that no drugs contributed to Chris’ death.
Cornell was found by his bodyguard, Martin Kirsten after Vicky called him to check up on Chris. The room was locked, so Kirsten broke the door to enter the room. Kirsten attempted to revive Cornell, but was unsuccessful, just like the medical staff that arrived on the scene minutes after. His body was cremated, and the funeral was attended by many notable musicians, celebrities, and fans.
Lots of tributes were afterward done by his musician friends. One of the most memorable ones was Audioslave’s Berlin concert, during which they spotlighted the empty mic at the center of the stage, and let the audience play in Cornell’s vocal. Eerie.
Rest in peace.