The life of Chris Cornell came to a tragic end on May 17, but at least the Soundgarden frontman went out like a rock star. Hours before he was discovered dead in a hotel room from an apparent suicide, the grunge icon gave one final performance to a sold-out show in Detroit!
As Chris Cornell stood on the stage of the MGM Grand Detroit, the 52-year-old rocker blasted an electrifying rendition of Soundgarden’s hit, “Spoonman.” With lead guitarist and Soundgarden co-founder Kim Thayil, 56, by his side, Chris’s iconic voice echoed throughout the packed arena. It’s amazing to watch this final performance, knowing that just hours after giving life to all his Motor City fans, Chris would be found dead in his hotel room.
The band also played hits like “Fell On Black Days,” according to PEOPLE, with Chris taking a moment to give love to the fans of Detroit. “I have bragged about Detroit crowds for 30 years,” he said in a fan clip of the show, “so stand the f*ck up and make some noise.” The crowd responded with a huge ovation, a sound that may have been ringing in Chris’s ears during his last moments on earth.
The Soundgarden singer was found dead in his hotel room after the Detroit show. Officials pronounced him dead on a scene, and Chris “sudden and unexpected passing” was initially deemed a suicide, as he was reportedly found with “a band around his neck.” What an utterly heartbreaking end to his life, especially since he leaves behind three children: a daughter, Lillian, who he had with his first wife, Susan Silver; and daughter Toni and Christopher, who he had with his second wife, Vicky Karayiannis.
Soundgarden was one of the many groups that established the grunge genre of music in the early 1990s. Along with bands like Nirvana, Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam, Soundgarden pioneered the sound that would change the rock music landscape. Chris would play with members of Pearl Jam and Mother Love Bone in the Seattle “super group” Temple of The Dog, whose Top 10 hit, “Hunger Strike,” featured Eddie Vedder, 52, on vocals. Following Soundgarden’s breakup in 1997, Chris formed a second “super group” with members of Rage Against The Machine, unleashing Audioslave on the masses in 2001 (before breaking up in 2007). Soundgarden ultimately reunited in 2010.
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It’s fitting that Chris’s final performance would include the song, “Spoonman.” Released in 1994, the song would the first major hit off of Soundgarden’s fourth album Superunknown. The song — inspired by Artis the Spoonman, a 68-year-old street performer who plays spoons as a musical instrument in his act — peaked at Number 3 on the Billboard Rock Charts. The track sent Soundgarden into the mainstream, launching a career that sadly ended after that final performance in Detroit.
Our thoughts are with Chris’s family, friends and fans during this time of loss.