Hours after playing a set in Detroit, lead singer of Soundgarden Chris Cornell was announced dead at 52. Fans and musicians were reeling over the news, as a representative called the death “sudden and unexpected”. He is survived by a wife and three children.
Cornell, who sang both in Soundgarden and Audioslave, was a pioneer of grunge and a formative figure in the ‘90s. Rock stars from around the world flocked to social media to mourn his loss.
Butch Walker took to Twitter to highlight Cornell’s distinctive vocals, writing, “Chris Cornell. One of the greatest voices in rock n roll history. Helped inspire me to evolve and change musically. I’m so sad. RIP BUDDY.”
Sheryl Crow, of the same generation at 55, wrote, “Ooohhhhh... so sad to hear about Chris Cornell. So talented. Too young.”
Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page echoed her sentiments, writing, “RIP Chris Cornell. Incredibly Talented. Incredibly Young. Incredibly Missed.”
Jason Bonham, son of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, also took to Twitter to call the news “devastating.” “One of the greatest voices in rock,” he Tweeted.
Gavin Rossdale of Bush wrote that he was “so saddened by Chris Cornell passing. Total shock. Great man. Great band. Great loss. Love to everyone in his world.” He followed it by reposting Cornell’s final tweet, which came eight hours before the announcement of his death.
Mark Tremonti, lead guitarist of Creed, called Cornell “the most influential singer to me as a writer. I just saw him perform days ago. Completely devastated.”
Darren Hayes, of ‘90s Australian duo Savage Garden, also offered his condolences. “It’s so sad to hear about Chris Cornell passing,” he wrote. “52 is too young. I feel for his children and family.”
Meanwhile, English singer-songwriter Billy Idol, who first rose to fame with punk rock group Generation X in the ‘80s, said he was “sad to hear of Chris Cornell passing. Great singer and artist. Another blow. RIP.” His previous tweet had come days ago, when he mourned actor Powers Boothe.
Glenn Hughes, of Trapeze, Deep Purple and briefly Black Sabbath, wrote he was “so very, very sad that we lost another beautifully gifted human today. RIP brother.”
A newer generation of musicians also felt the loss. Foster the People’s frontman Mark Foster posted a broken heart emoji and wrote, “RIP Chris Cornell. Condolences to @Soundgarden and family. We’ve lost one of the greats.”
Hamilton creator Lin Manuel Miranda posted Hunger Strike, a song from Cornell’s band Temple of the Dog. He also retweeted an Audioslave lyric: “Be yourself is all that you can do.”
At the time of Cornell’s death, Soundgarden had been on tour with The Pretty Reckless, fronted by 23-year-old singer-actress Taylor Momsen.
Before Cornell’s final show, Pretty Reckless drummer Jamie Perkins posted a heartfelt message on Instagram: “Tonight we play our final show opening for them at the absolutely gorgeous (and sold out) Fox Theatre in Detroit. They’ve been humble and gracious, and are still an absolutely destructive live band. They dedicated a song to us in Indianapolis. They were one of the bands we bonded over when we all started to make music together. This whole experience has been incredible.”