A look back at Chris Cornell's impressive music career as he dies at 52

Rocker Chris Cornell who gained fame as the lead singer of Soundgarden has died aged 52.

Cornell, who had been on tour, died on Wednesday night in Detroit, his spokesman Brian Bumbery said.

He called the death “sudden and unexpected” and said his wife and family were shocked.

Chris Cornell of Soundgarden performs at the Hard Rock Calling music festival in Hyde Park, London. (Lewis Whyld/PA Archive/PA Images).
Chris Cornell of Soundgarden performs at the Hard Rock Calling music festival in Hyde Park, London (Lewis Whyld/PA)

He said the family would be working closely with the medical examiner to determine the cause.

Cornell was one of the leading voices of the 1990s grunge movement originating out of Seattle, joining the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains.

Formed in 1984 by Cornell, guitarist Kim Thayil and bassist Hiro Yamamoto, Soundgarden released their third studio album, Badmotorfinger, in 1991, featuring popular singles including Jesus Christ Pose, Rusty Cage and Outshined.

Cornell also collaborated with members of what would become Pearl Jam to form Temple Of The Dog, which produced a self-titled album in 1991 in tribute to friend Andrew Wood, former frontman for Mother Love Bone.

Three years later, Soundgarden broke through on mainstream radio with the album Superunknown, which reached number one on the Billboard 200 in the US and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Record in 1995.

Chris Cornell
Chris Cornell (Ian West/PA)

It included hit singles Spoonman, Fell On Black Days, Black Hole Sun, My Wave and The Day I Tried to Live.

Soundgarden disbanded in 1997 due to tensions in the group, and Cornell pursued a solo career.

In 2001, he joined Audioslave, a supergroup that included former Rage Against The Machine members Tom Morello, Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford.

The band released three albums in six years and also performed at an event billed as Cuba’s first outdoor rock concert by an American band.

Audioslave disbanded in 2007 but Cornell and Soundgarden reunited in 2012 and released the band’s sixth studio album, King Animal, in 2012.

Cornell also became involved in philanthropy and started the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation to support children facing challenges, including homelessness, poverty, abuse and neglect.

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