Earlier, cops told PEOPLE the musician’s death was being investigated as such.
“A friend of the family found him deceased and medics confirmed that, and yes, he was dead on scene,” Officer Jennifer Moreno of the Detroit Police tells PEOPLE. “It is being investigated as a possible suicide. The medical examiner’s office will perform the autopsy and they will make the determination of cause of death.”
Updated Statement from the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office: The Medical Examiner has completed the autopsy on…
— 𝚛𝚊𝚐𝚎 𝚊𝚐𝚊𝚒𝚗𝚜𝚝 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚖𝚊𝚌𝚑𝚒𝚗𝚎 (@RATM) May 18, 2017
I AM SO SADDENED BY CHRIS CORNELL PASSING. @soundgarden
TOTAL SHOCK.GREAT MAN.GREAT BAND.GREAT LOSS. LOVE TO EVERYONE IN HIS WORLD. XXX
— GAVIN ROSSDALE (@GavinRossdale) May 18, 2017
He is the reason I first let go & found my voice at 18. He paid me a compliment on my voice on a stage we shared years later, v sad. Kelly
— stereophonics (@stereophonics) May 18, 2017
Very sad news about Chris Cornell today. A sad loss of a great talent to the world, his friends and family. Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/BlgxE6cJLH
— Joe Perry (@JoePerry) May 18, 2017
(CNN) Chris Cornell, lead singer of Soundgarden and Audioslave, died Wednesday night, his representative told CNN.
Cornell, 52, was in Detroit performing with Soundgarden, which had embarked on a US tour in April. Brian Bumbery, his representative, called Cornell’s passing “sudden and unexpected” 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.
The grunge era
Cornell began his career in the Seattle rock scene forming the band Soundgarden in 1984, which was influential in the 1990s grunge movement.
Cornell became another in a line of lead singers from major grunge rock bands to pass away. Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain was found dead in his Seattle home in 1994. His death was ruled a suicide. Alice in Chains’ original singer, Layne Staley, died from a drug overdose in 2002. Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots died of an accidental overdose in 2015.
In interviews, Cornell discussed his past struggles with alcohol and the impact of his friends’ deaths from substance abuse.
“I’ve lost a lot of young, brilliant friends, people that I thought were very inspired,” he told Rolling Stone in 2015.
“They’re all young and these guys all had limitless potential in their lives in front of them.”
Soundgarden and Audioslave
Soundgarden predated both grunge pioneers Nirvana and Pearl Jam, but it wasn’t an overnight success.
The group hit its commercial peak with its breakout album, “Superunknown” in 1994, which was nominated for a Grammy Award for best rock album. Songs from that album, “Black Hole Sun” won best the Grammy for best hard rock performance, and the song “Spoonman” won for best metal performance that year.
The group disbanded in 1997 and released a greatest hits compilation the same year.