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Chris Cornell: Audioslave and Soundgarden singer dies

Chris Cornell, lead singer of American hard rock bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, has died aged 52.

In a statement to the Associated Press, his representative, Brian Bumbery, said Cornell died on Wednesday night in Detroit.

Bumbery called the death “sudden and unexpected” and said his wife and family were shocked. The statement said the family would be working closely with the medical examiner to determine the cause, and asked for privacy.

Cornell had been touring with Soundgarden, and was tweeting upbeat messages about a sold-out concert in Detroit just hours before his death.

His hard-rock peers paid tribute, beginning with Jane’s Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Dave Navarro.

Soundgarden were part of the Pacific Northwestern grunge scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s, coming up alongside the likes of Nirvana. Like Nirvana, they were first signed to indie label Sub Pop before making the jump to a major, taking their heavy, angsty sound into the mainstream with singles like Black Hole Sun.

The band sold more than 10m albums in the US alone, and were nominated for nine Grammy awards, winning two. They broke up in 1997, but reformed in 2010; their most recent album was King Animal in 2012, and had been working on new songs over the past year.

Following the breakup of Soundgarden, Cornell recorded a solo record, before being recruited as the singer for Rick Rubin-produced rock supergroup Audioslave, which also featured former members of Rage Against the Machine. Featuring a glossy yet robust update of the bands’ 1990s sound, their 2002 debut album was a big success, eventually going triple platinum in the US.

In 2012, he and his wife Vicky created a foundation that works with vulnerable children facing poverty and homelessness.

Sources: BBC, The Guardian