Already much of the music world is reeling and grieving over the recent loss of iconic rocker Chris Cornell on Wednesday May 17. He had been a prolific performer, songwriter and band member for two rock groups, Soundgarden and Audioslave. When he was discovered dead by a family friend in his room at the MGM Grand Hotel in Detroit, shortly after a Soundgarden concert at the Fox Theatre, no details were immediately released regarding his death. But a dark hint was left by the rock star to his audience at the concert, when his last song of the night had the theme of death on it.

And now the reason is made clear with the cause of his passing: he had hanged himself.

Sudden and unexpected

The Wayne County (Michigan) Medical Examiner’s Office finally issued an official statement on Thursday May 18 regarding Chris Cornell’s death. It was determined that the Soundgarden front-man died of suicide by hanging. Other than that however, the office revealed that there has yet to be a full autopsy report done. Detroit Police speaker explained that the family friend who discovered Cornell “unresponsive” in his room just past midnight of Thursday immediately called 911. Emergency first responders that arrived later examined the rocker and pronounced him dead at the scene.

Cornell’s concert with Soundgarden in Detroit had been part of a US tour by the band that began last April.

All told, his associates had no idea he was of a mind to take his life, as his representative Brian Bumbery described his death to be “sudden and unexpected.” He further related that Cornell’s wife Vicky is cooperating with the medical examiner, and noted that she and the rest of their family “Would like to thank his fans for their continuous love and loyalty and ask that their privacy be respected at this time."

The latest casualty

Chris Cornell and Soundgarden are considered to be a major influence in the 1990’s development of grunge rock.

The Grammy winner performed with his band-mates at the Fox Theatre in a concert described by one in the audience as “nothing odd.” Cornell did end his set by covering the song “In My Time of Dying” by Led Zeppelin.

With his suicide Cornell joins an alarming list of grunge band lead singers to suddenly die of mainly unnatural causes. Among the names on this list are Kurt Cobain of Nirvana (1994), Layne Staley of Alice in Chains (2002), and Scott Weyland of Stone Temple Pilots (2015). The latter two died of drug overdoses.