The world of music moans today as yet again another great artist is taken from this world. Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell passed away earlier today at the age of 52. This afternoon the medical examiner ruled the death a suicide by hanging, furthering the pain of this loss. Reactions are pouring in from across the music world and beyond, expressing their sadness with this very upsetting situation.
Many were shocked at what had happened.
UPDATE (5/19): Brad Wilk, who served as the drummer of Audioslave alongside Cornell offered his tribute to the late singer on Instagram:
“The sadness of you leaving I can not begin to describe here. So close to home. I was in awe of your talent. The time I was able to spend with you, which was not enough, I will forever cherish. At your core you were a smart, sweet and gentle soul. This is how I will always remember you. Love you Chris. Hard to believe this picture marks the last time I will ever see you here on earth.”
Meanwhile, Tom Morello, another Audioslave bandmate offered his sentiments about the loss:
“I love you, brother. Thank you for your friendship and your humor and your intellect and your singular and unmatched talent. It was a great honor to know you as a friend and as a band mate. I am devastated and deeply saddened that you are gone dear friend but your unbridled rock power, delicate haunting melodies and the memory of your smile are with us forever. Your beautiful voice and beautiful self will always be in my heart. God bless you and your family.”
“Sad to hear my friend passed away. A searcher of higher truth has entered the eternal hereafter. Prayers & Love to his family” – Yusef / Cat Stevens
Yusef Stevens has recently performed with Cornell at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, performing the singer-songwriter’s hit “Wild World.”
“Heavy hearts. God speed, Chris. Love and light, Kim, Ben, Matt, and Chris’ family.” – Maynard J Keenan
Keenan meanwhile, teamed up with Cornell for a one-off cover of Elvis Costello’s classic “(What’s So Funny ’Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding” at the Axis of Justice event at the Avalon in Hollywood on July 19, 2004.
Very sad news about Chris Cornell. Did a lot of roadwork with him and Soundgarden. He was a very nice guy. My sympathies to his family, the Soundgarden family and his friends. May he rest in peace.” – Mike Patton
“Shocked and saddened at the news of our friend @chriscornell passing. I was sitting next to you a few weeks ago talking music, life, kids.” – Serj Tankian
“SO SO stunned to hear about Chris Cornell! Such a terrible and sad loss! Thinking of his family tonight! RIP” – Dave Navarro
“As many saying re:Chris Cornell: Get help for depression. I’ve suffered from anxiety + depression. There are tons of us. You can be happy.” – AC Newman
“Chris had such a rare voice and I’m deeply saddened by this. I’ve had some serious bouts with this & it takes vigilance but u can be happy.” – Nicole Atkins Tweeted in response to AC Newman from The New Pornographers, referring to his statement about getting help for anxiety and depression.
“Holy crap, r.i.p Cornell :(”
“The REAL DEAL – GOD BLESS CHRIS CORNELL 1964 / 2O17” – Zakk Wylde
Chester Bennington of Linkin Park shared this:
I dreamt about the Beatles last night. I woke up with Rocky Raccoon playing in my head and a concerned look on my wife’s face. She told me my friend had just passed away. Thoughts of you flooded my mind and I wept. I’m still weeping, with sadness, as well as gratitude for having shared some very special moments with you and your beautiful family. You have inspired me in many ways you could never have known. Your talent was pure and unrivaled. Your voice was joy and pain, anger and forgiveness, love and heartache all wrapped up into one. I suppose that’s what we all are. You helped me understand that. I just watched a video of you singing “A Day In The Life” by the Beatles and thought of my dream. I’d like to think you were saying goodbye in you own way. I can’t imagine a world without you in it. I pray you find peace in the next life. I send my love to your wife and children, friends and family. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your life.
Some artists simply shared their condolences:
“RIP Chris Cornell. Damn” – Mark Lanegan
“Rest …Peace” – Chuck D
“Shocking news. My thoughts are with his family and friends. Going to crank Badmotorfinger.” – Scott Ian
“RIP Chris.” – Billy Gould
“RIP Chris Cornell. No idea what he was going through but heartbreaking that he didn’t feel there was light on the other side of his despair” – Watsky
“Ah man…. Chris Cornell” – Geoff Barrow
“One of the greatest voices in rock… :'(” – Anneke v Giersbergen who links to Soundgarden’s “Fell on Black Days”
While many others were friends trying to send out their best thoughts and prayers. Benjamin Weinman who as the guitarist for Dillinger Escape Plan had spent the last few weeks on the road with Cornell’s band Soundgarden, expressed his shock.
“This picture of Chris was taken side stage Sunday night. At this point I had seen Soundgarden probably 20 times and he had never sounded so good. This man was a unicorn to me. Words can not describe how confused I am over this. My heart goes out to his beautiful family and the band. RIP <3″ – Benjamin Weinman
“RIP Chris Cornell
Incredibly Missed.” – Jimmy Page
“So sad. 52 is no age.
Rest in peace.” – Soulsavers
“just heard about the passing of Chris Cornell, I’m deeply saddened by this. My ♥️ to his family and band #RIPChrisCornell say hello 2 heaven” – Charlie Benante
“A mutual friend called me and tells me my bro passed away. #RIPChrisCornell You are a great artist Love to Vicki and fam @nilerodgers” – Nile Rodgers
“Very sad news about Chris Cornell today. A sad loss of a great talent to the world, his friends and family. Rest In Peace.” – Joe Perry
“Sad 2 hear of Chris Cornell passing..great singer and artist… another blow…RIP” – Billy Idol
“What a beautiful spirit we have lost. ” – Melissa Ethridge, sharing a photo of herself with the singer and Sheryl Crow.
“Shocked and saddened by the sudden death of @chriscornell. A great singer, songwriter and the loveliest man.” – Elton John
Here are statements from Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart on the loss of Chris Cornell:
Ann Wilson: “It’s important now to keep thoughts of Chris positive. He is on his way. We loved him well, now wish him well on his journey. He was and is a beautiful soul.”
Nancy Wilson: “No one is ever prepared to hear about a death in the family. And today Chris Cornell my brother from my Seattle music family is gone. I thought his voice would forever grace the world of music. Devastating.”
Even the President of the Recording Academy released a press statement, speaking to the enormity of Cornell’s impact on the music world – both as a songwriter and vocalist:
“Chris Cornell was one of the influential originators of the 1990s Seattle grunge scene. A two-time GRAMMY® Award winner, Chris’ dynamic stage presence and impressive vocal range made him a true rock-and-roll icon. From the international success he achieved as the founder and lead vocalist of Soundgarden, to fronting the GRAMMY-nominated supergroup, Audioslave, Chris’ extraordinary talent will forever live on and inspire fellow musicians and fans worldwide. We have lost an innovative member of our creative community, and our sincerest condolences go out to Chris’ family, friends, collaborators, and all who have been impacted by his outstanding artistry.”
The Recording Academy
Many more reactions from the music world are coming in every second of the day and will continue to flow in as the wounds are fresh and will take some time to heal. We can only make sure that Cornell’s name and work continues to live on in our memory as we listen to his art each time.
Photo Credit: Alyssa Fried