(RNN) – Singer and songwriter Chris Cornell, a key figure in the 1990s grunge movement, died Wednesday night in Detroit, shortly after performing a show.
In a statement, his representative called the death “sudden and unexpected” and asked for privacy for Cornell’s family. His cause of death is unknown, and is under investigation.
Best known as the lead singer for the bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, Cornell, 52, achieved multi-platinum success, earned multiple Grammys and wrote and performed the theme song for the James Bond movie “Casino Royale.”
More recently, his song, “The Promise,” appeared in the 2017 movie of the same name starring Christian Bale.
Sad 2 hear of Chris Cornell passing..great singer and artist… another blow…RIP
— Billy Idol (@BillyIdol) May 18, 2017
Soundgarden formed in 1984 and began generating major attention on the music scene by the early 1990s.
With Cornell as the lead singer, Kim Thayil as the guitarist and Hiro Yamamoto as the bassist, Soundgarden was a seminal band in the grunge movement, alongside contemporaries Pearl Jam and Nirvana.
The singles “Black Hole Sun” and “Spoonman” off the band’s “Superunknown” album, which came out in 1994, earned them two Grammys.
The band broke up in 1997 but later reformed.
Cornell and Eddie Vedder, the lead singer of Pearl Jam, reportedly good friends, appeared Temple of the Dog together. The group formed in 1990 and released one album in tribute to Andrew Wood, the lead singer of Mother Love Bone, who died of a heroin overdose that year.
Temple of the Dog is best known for the hit song, “Hunger Strike,” which featured Cornell and Vedder on vocals.
Before returning to Soundgarden, Cornell formed the band Audioslave in 2001 with three former members of Rage Against the Machine. Featuring the Grammy-nominated “Like a Stone,” the band’s debut album achieved triple platinum status.
Cornell left the band in 2007 amid reports that he was unhappy with the financial arrangements.
Both Soundgarden and Audioslave have returned to the music scene in recent years, with Cornell still in the lead.
Soundgarden reformed in 2010, releasing a new album the following year.
The Soundgarden song, “Live to Rise,” appeared in the 2012 superhero blockbuster, “The Avengers.”
Audioslave reunited in January 2017 to protest the inauguration of President Donald Trump.
Cornell also had a successful solo career, producing five albums, and worked on movie soundtracks. With “You Know My Name,” featured in “Casino Royale,” he was the first male American artist to write and perform the theme song for a James Bond movie.
Born in Seattle in 1964, Cornell is survived by his wife Vicky Karayiannis, with whom he has two children, ages 11 and 12. He is also survived by his 16-year-old daughter from a previous marriage.
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