It's a heartbreaking Thursday morning in the music world, because Audioslave and Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell has died at age 52. According to the Associated Press, Cornell died Wednesday evening in Detroit. AP further reports that his death is currently being investigated as a possible suicide. A rep for Cornell, Brian Bumbery, confirmed the location and time of death to AP, additionally stating that "the death [was] 'sudden and unexpected' and said his wife and family are in shock." As one might imagine, his family is asking for privacy at this time as the investigation into his passing begins.
UPDATE: According to the Associated Press, the medical examiner has determined that Cornell committed suicide by hanging. E! News reports that the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office further explained that "a full autopsy report has not yet been completed."
EARLIER: Cornell leaves behind a revolutionary and astounding body of work. He credited himself as one of the first musicians who helped to create the "grunge" rock movement in the early '90s while part of the band Soundgarden when speaking with Rolling Stone in 2014. His place in music history is now forever associated with that paradigm shift. Soundgarden's hits, which include the evergreen rock hit "Black Hole Sun," helped put Cornell on the map.
In the years that have followed, through Soundgarden's split in 1997 and the formation of his next musical venture, Audioslave, Cornell has remained an icon in the rock music genre. As such, it is only fitting we remember him through these quotes that really show his sensitive and powerful approach to life.
"I'm not a lyric writer to make statements. What I enjoy doing is making paintings with lyrics, creating colorful images."
"I never look back – ever. It wasn't until we did this reissue that I realized, for me, how good it is to look back."
The frontman spoke briefly on the beauty of reflection while chatting with Rolling Stone about the revival of Soundgarden in 2014.
"I've lost a lot of young, brilliant friends, people that I thought were very inspired. They're all young and these guys all had limitless potential in their lives in front of them."
CNN quoted Cornell from a 2015 Rolling Stone interview, where he spoke of the many friends he lost to drug abuse. Himself a recovering drug user, Cornell's words about the sadness of genius lost feel a bit haunting now.
"Your life is an opera, and this can be the soundtrack of your life."
Cornell was referring to the Soundgarden song "King Animal," but honestly, this could arguably be applicable to a majority of Soundgarden and Audioslave songs.
"I guess the music industry didn't predict that this generation of songwriters was going to plug in so accurately and so unanimously to the group of people who were buying records."
In a 1994 Rolling Stone interview, a somewhat prescient Cornell discussed the deep bond between musicians and audiences, where musicians in the '90s sought to accurately represent the feelings of their audiences. He went on to comment that "To me, it makes perfect sense. It's a representation of the generation that wasn't being accurately represented."
"At the end of the day, it's the fans who make you who you are."
Without a doubt, fans of Cornell's will remember him in a generous and kind way.