When a celebrity dies unexpectedly, there’s a strange new ritual that fans partake in as we remember the person’s contributions to our lives. We scour the internet for social media posts for a glimpse of their last moments. In the case of Chris Cornell, the lead singer for Soundgarden who died last night at the age of 52, we have his last tweet.
The tweet was posted at 8:06pm Eastern time and showed the marquee in Detroit just before his last show. At just 52-years-old, we assumed Cornell had a long life ahead. Brian Bumbery, a representative for Cornell, told the Associated Press that his death was “sudden and unexpected.”
Update, 6:03am: Local news in Detroit are reporting that it was a possible suicide:
Sources confirm to 7 Action News that Cornell died at MGM Grand Detroit following a show at Fox Theatre. Detroit police say it appears he died from a possible suicide.
Police say Cornell’s wife called a family friend and asked him to check on his well-being. The friend forced opened the door and found Cornell on the bathroom floor, according to police. We’re told Cornell was pronounced dead on the scene.
Update, 2:37pm: The medical examiner has determined that Cornell’s death was indeed suicide by hanging. If you or someone you know is thinking about or threatening suicide, please tell someone. The suicide hotline in the US is 1-800-273-8255. International numbers can be found here.
Aside from Cornell’s own tweets, we also have the social media posts of fans who saw last night’s Soundgarden concert.
Chris Cornell was a huge part of my teenage years as I was discovering rock music in the mid-1990s. And I loved the music that would come to be regarded by the previous generation, Generation X, as not nearly as cool as Soundgarden’s “earlier work.”
The 1996 album Down on the Upside was derided by critics, and Cornell’s first solo album, 1999's Euphoria Morning, was considered deeply uncool. But to me they were magic. They were the soundtrack of a depressed teenager who had narrowly missed the “cool” era of grunge in the early 90s. Even after Soundgarden split in 1997, Cornell continued making amazing music for kids like me.
Naturally, people are taking to social media to mourn in their own ways. The cause of death has not been determined and the Cornell’s family has asked for privacy.
RIP Chris Cornell.