Chris Cornell – the lead singer of Soundgarden and Audioslave – has died aged 52, according to his representative.
In a statement issued to The Associated Press, Brian Bumbery said Cornell died Wednesday night in Detroit.
The death was called “sudden and unexpected” in the statement. A cause of death is currently unknown. Cornell’s family have asked for privacy while they work with a medical examiner to determine the cause.
Cornell was best known for fronting the two iconic bands and singing ‘You Know My Name’, the theme song for James Bond film Casino Royale. He was scheduled to play the US festival Rock the Range in Columbus tonight.
He was reportedly performing with Soundgarden gig last night at Detroit’s Fox Theatre, part of the band’s North American headline tour. Pictures have emerged on Twitter from the concert.
Soundgarden | 5.17.17 pic.twitter.com/uBC6rSXWg6
— Fox Theatre Detroit (@FoxTheatreDet) May 18, 2017
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.
Last year, Cornell spoke about how playing acoustically has tied together his entire career. “In some strange way, it’s made sense of my 30-odd years of song writing,” he told The Independent.
“All the different bands and solo projects and everything in-between are all so varied and eclectic. I wanted to string all that together somehow in an acoustic show and I think it’s the first time that it can all be in one show and make sense.”