Chris Cornell, the rock icon and the lead singer for Audioslave and Soundgarden, passed away Wednesday night at the age of 52. Cornell's representative, Brian Bumbery, released a statement confirming his death while he was on tour in Detroit. Soundgarden launched its latest United States tour in April.

Sudden departure

According to Bumbery, Cornell's death was "sudden and unexpected." His Family And Friends were shocked at the news seeing as that the Grammy-winning rock star just performed at the Fox Theatre in Detroit that same night. The cause of his death remains unknown.

In his statement, Bumbery confirmed that Cornell's wife Vicky, her family, and his friends are working closely with the medical examiner to determine the cause of death. Cornell's camp is asking for fans to respect their privacy at this time as they will eventually release more information as they come.

Contributions to music

Cornell's raw and soulful voice, which reaches nearly four octaves, has become a staple in music history. The singer started his career during the 90s with his grunge band, Soundgarden. The band was formed in 1984 with Kim Thayil on guitars, Hiro Yamamoto on bass, and Cornell on both drums and vocals. A year later the band recruited Scott Sundquist as its drummer to allow Cornell to focus on his role as the lead singer.

The band's rise to fame was not an overnight success, unlike their contemporaries such as Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam. The group experienced some relative success in the Seattle music scene with songs such as "Jesus Christ Pose," "Outshined" and "Rusty Cage." The band reached its commercial peak in 1994 when its song "Black Hole Sun" won a Grammy for Best Rock Performance.

Passion for music and service

After Soundgarden had disbanded in 1997, Cornell formed a new band, called Audioslave, with former Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello, Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford in 2001. The band also experienced some commercial success, with their most successful single being 2003's "Like a Stone." Cornell reunited with Audioslave in January after twelve years of being apart to perform at the Prophets of Rage's Anti-Inaugural Ball.

Aside from his work in the music industry, Cornell also created the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation, a group that works with other organizations to develop programs and projects for children facing different issues. Some of the revenues generated from Cornell's live shows also goes to benefit the cause.

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