Music star Chris Cornell, former West Seattleite, dies at 52

6:52 AM: Sad news overnight. Music star Chris Cornell has died in Detroit, just 52, after Soundgarden‘s sold-out concert there. His Seattle ties were strong, given his years with that band (and so much more). He lived in West Seattle long ago, as mentioned here in WSB’s early months, when he had a solo hit with the theme from the first James Bond movie starring Daniel Craig. Mr. Cornell also was a philanthropist, forming the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation with his wife, “to protect the most vulnerable children.” He is survived by three children of his own. His body was found in his hotel room; the cause of his death is under investigation. (2011 photo, via Wikimedia)

P.S. KEXP is paying tribute all day (90.3 FM/online).

12:02 PM: Authorities in Detroit say Mr. Cornell died by suicide.

There’s help for anyone thinking of self-harm … here in King County, the Crisis Clinic has a 24-hour hotline at 206-461-3222. And here’s what the American Federation for Suicide Prevention says.

11:23 PM: A view of tonight’s biggest tribute:

29 Replies to "Music star Chris Cornell, former West Seattleite, dies at 52"

  • Ferry Walker May 18, 2017 (7:06 am)

    Quick, someone get Eddie Vedder to a safe place. 

  • Alki Resident May 18, 2017 (7:09 am)

    Omg noooo. I can’t believe this.

  • Earlybird May 18, 2017 (7:21 am)

    So incredibly sad to wake up to this news. RIP to a hometown music legend.

  • kate May 18, 2017 (7:29 am)

    Sickening. Grief will be wide spread….

  • justme May 18, 2017 (7:41 am)

    jeezus, why do they always die so young.

  • miws May 18, 2017 (7:51 am)


  • Archie May 18, 2017 (7:53 am)

    RIP good buddy you’re rocking with the angels now

  • Waikikigirl May 18, 2017 (8:06 am)

    This is so sad…way too many exceptionally great people/rockers dying way too soon.


  • sw May 18, 2017 (8:21 am)

    Say hello to heaven…

  • headedtoheaven May 18, 2017 (9:20 am)

    this news has hit hard. i was up early and heard kexp, before the morning show was even on, playing a set of grunge from the 90’s. that’s what tipped me off. it hasn’t been since layne staley and kurt cobain passed that i have felt this sense of a true seattle loss.  we are all hurting today. i hope to hear cornell’s voice blaring from every window today.

  • Alki Resident May 18, 2017 (10:04 am)

    If Easy Street is reading this, I hope they have a candle lite vigil tonite with his music playing. We all could use this.

  • annaeileen May 18, 2017 (10:13 am)

    John is playing Say Hello To Heaven right now (10:10 AM) and it brings tears to my eyes.  I saw his solo show at Benaroya Hall a couple of years ago and it was incredible – he had one of the best voices in rock.

    I saw Soundgarden  in 1986 and they were a little more hard rock than I liked at that time but the more I listened, the more I liked all of their music and luckily saw them a few years after that.  

    Such a sad day :(

  • John May 18, 2017 (11:23 am)

    Huge lose to the music world!  I would crank his music in the 80’s while in College.   

  • PATRICK May 18, 2017 (11:43 am)

     I remember running into him numerous times at the old “Cat Eye Cafe” and he always would stop to scratch my dog and call  her by name “Hellooo Jacky-O”  he’d always smile. Always nice and never was shy to chat us up.

  • BlairJ May 18, 2017 (12:14 pm)

    I am making a pilgrimage to the northern tip of Magnuson Park tonight.  As far as I can tell, we can’t get into the NOAA Art Walk, but close will have to do.

    • Swede. May 18, 2017 (12:53 pm)

      It’s accessible. But they will probably get overwhelming amounts of people now and either close it entirely or make it wide open…

      • BlairJ May 18, 2017 (10:21 pm)

        Couldn’t get into the NOAA facility, but a few people looked through the fence toward A Sound Garden.  A bouquet of flowers and some spoons adorned the chain link fence.

  • Alki resident 4 May 18, 2017 (1:12 pm)

    So sad to lose such a beautiful voice.  We went to his acoustic show at Benaroya and it was amazing.  My thoughts are with his family as they begin their long journey.  I hope his kids get to the point where they are able to cherish his beautiful voice and also understand that their destiny is their own and not their father’s.

  • May May 18, 2017 (1:49 pm)

    Soundgarden has been in the special place in my heart for years and years. I remember I was so exited to see them  live in Tokyo where I lived back in early 90’s, ended up going to all the shows they played around Tokyo. I feel like it was just a few years back.  I saw them for the last at the White River a couple of years ago, and didn’t even think that would be the last to hear his voice in live.  I’m still in shock, he seemed to have everything, yet taking his own life…….

  • T Rex May 18, 2017 (3:44 pm)

    Thank you JanS for sharing that link, what an amazing version of that song.

     An incredible lost.

     I hope he has found his peace, God have mercy on his family.  

  • Lynn May 18, 2017 (3:45 pm)

    Will there be a vigil tonight? I need it :(

    • WSB May 18, 2017 (4:08 pm)

      KEXP tweeted that it’s planning a moment of silence and memorial in “The Gathering Space” at 5 pm, part of their HQ at Seattle Center. Still looking to see if anything else has been announced.

      • HelperMonkey May 18, 2017 (4:40 pm)

        I heard the Space Needle will go dark tonight in tribute between 9-10 pm 

  • Tamala Summerhilll May 18, 2017 (7:09 pm)

      I am deeply saddened by Chris’s passing. What a beautiful voice. What a beautiful person. God gave him to us for a little while, but needs him in heaven now. Lord, please have mercy on his family members. RIP to the heart and soul of Soundgarden.

  • R0b0 May 19, 2017 (6:07 am)

    My first thought was of his bandmates, out together again after some tumultuous times between the glory. I’ve had some great moments with Ben and Kim at shows, in bars, in record stores,  just being kindred music lovers and Seattleites  sharing  cool moments in time. 

  • Jim May 19, 2017 (12:33 pm)
    Who sings for Chris Cornell? 
    It’s 8:30 in the morning, May 18, 2017. Running a little over two hours late for my commute to NYC. I’m standing on the train and staring at my reflection through the filth of the half broken window of the train door. A very worn and tired look gazes back at me with swollen red bloodshot eyes. I’m crammed in this train and I look across the aisle and I notice a  young man who catches my attention. He gives me a thumbs up and a nod as he points to the shirt I decided to wear under my suit jacket. A simple concert Tee from a few months back that I picked up at a solo acoustic night concert with Chris Cornell. 
    Earlier at 5:30 in the morning I hear my youngest sons alarm going off. As usual he is sleeping through the beeping. I head down the dark messy hall filled with laundry to his room and I bang on his door. I push it open and peak my head in…”Blaise get up… Turn that thing off”… “Dad wait” he says… “Did you hear” as he sat up in the darkness and turned his alarm off…. “Hear what Pal?”… “Dad I’m so sorry.. Chris Cornell died last night” “I’m so sorry” ….
    Being the youngest of Four in the 60’s and 70’s I was exposed to all sorts of music thanks to my siblings. Mostly Rock and Roll with some Elvis and Johnny Cash thrown in.
    When I heard the sex pistols and the Punk British evasion I stood for not only the music but also the anarchy and politics that fed the genre. I was a punk and I stood behind it all. Socially, physically and mentally.
    Almost two years ago I wrote this for another publication:
    “Unlike other cities Punk in NYC not only included music and our “home made” look but also included a political uprising and a street meaning that the music defined.
    Cities like Boston and Philly had their followings as well as the entire west coast (California)…’s my opinion that LA’s punk influence eventually defined another Genre that was all American.. …. Grunge….in my thirties I fell into a sound that I didn’t think was possible at that stage of my life. A sound that made me want to Rock, Dance, sing and swing my head around like I did as a punk Teenager listening to a young Billy Idol utter the words “Ready Steady go”….
    My Children, Blaise, James and Joe had no choice but to grow up listing to Billy Idol, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Rolling Stones and …. That Seattle Grunge sound…. My kids know every word to the “Temple of the dog” album.. And they know Chris Cornell and how much their Mother and Father would scramble to see him whenever he was even close to NYC… We have missed few shows since 1994….
    That Seattle sound and those that copied it put a mark on Music history. Chris Cornell was considered the older brother.. The wise man.. Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley and of course Andrew Wood were all engulfed in Chris’s talents and world. His sensitive multilayered abilities that he shared with everyone. 
    Chris will be held guilty of so much … His family and Children will forever search for answers.. 
    Chris wrote songs for Kurt, and Layne and (as I mentioned) even dedicated an amazing album (temple of the dog) to Andrew Wood…Chris helped an entire fan base of all these rock superstars mourn and deal with their feelings of loss. Chris never forgot. He would always take time during his shows and mention his friends who died and what they meant to him. Chris helped a generation relate to this kind of loss and he dealt with it and shared it with us through his music and words. 
    Who sings for Chris now? 
    Who makes this loss, this hollow feeling, this emptiness and sorrow better for us?  
    Who pulls the sheets down from over our eyes so we can sleep tonight? 
    Who sings for Chris?
    • CD May 21, 2017 (1:38 am)

      My heart is broken. This had to be an accident, a moment of psychosis experienced alone, under the influence of too much anxiety medication. This was an accident. He would not do this to his family, to us. He was full of life and plans for the future. He was healthy and excited about tomorrow. I keep thinking this isn’t real. I’m having a hard time accepting the reality of it all. I was one of the lucky ones to score a last minute ticket to the sold out last performance of TOTD on Nov 21, 2016. I was 4th row, it was amazing. A few years back at the Gorge I caught the last show of a Soundgarden tour, also amazing. My heart breaks for his beautiful family, all of his band mates, and of course for myself and all the other fans who never met him, but feel as if without his musical influence we wouldn’t have made it this far. May your soul be at peace.

  • Waikikigirl May 19, 2017 (1:22 pm)

    @ Jim….thank you for writing this… I am sadden by the  taking of Chris’ life way too early and also mad that he did this (if so) but now I feel a little better by your kind and understanding words.

    Depression is a misunderstood disease and I wish there were more help for the people going thru it.


    Thank you again Jim


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