Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell dies aged 52

Chris Cornell, lead singer of American hard rock bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, has died aged 52

Chris Cornell
Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell, lead singer of American hard rock bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, has died aged 52.

In a statement to the Associated Press, Cornell's representative Brian Bumbery said he died shortly after playing a concert with Soundgarden on Wednesday night in Detroit and that his death was "sudden and unexpected".

Cornell had been tweeting upbeat messages about a sold-out concert the band played in Detroit just hours before his death. The show was part of a wider tour and the group had a number of live dates scheduled for later this month.

Bumbery added that Cornell’s wife and family were shocked and that they would be working closely with the medical examiner to determine the cause, and asked for privacy.

Cornell was best known for fronting the two iconic bands andsinging 'You Know My Name', the theme song for James Bond filmCasino Royale. He was scheduled to play the US festival Rock the Range in Columbus tonight. 

Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Cornell was one of the chief architects of the grunge movement, forming Soundgarden alongside guitarist Kim Thyail and bassist Hiro Yamamoto in 1984.

Soundgarden were famously the first grunge band to sign to a major label (A&M in 1988), paving the way for the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains to break out.

After initially breaking up, Cornell formed Audioslave with Rage Against The Machine's Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk. Cornell left the supergroup in 2007 to concentrate on solo material before regrouping with Soundgarden in 2010.

Tributes to Cornell have flooded social media, paying respect to the singer, among them those from other musicians such as Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, Billy Idol and Jane’s Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Dave Navarro.

Page led tributes to Cornell on Twitter, writing: "RIP Chris Cornell. Incredibly talented, incredibly young, incredibly missed."

Idol tweeted that he was “sad to hear of Chris Cornell passing,” calling him a “great singer and artist” and describing his death as “another blow,” making reference to the death of American actor Powers Boothe two days prior.

On his part, Navarro extended his condolences to Cornell’s family, adding that he was “so, so stunned to hear about Chris Cornell!”

He said his death was “such a terrible and sad loss!”