The music and entertainment world reacted with shock this morning following the announcement of the death of Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman and singer Chris Cornell. Cornell, who was just 52, died by suicide late Wednesday having performed earlier in the evening with Soundgarden in Detroit.
Tributes to the singer poured out across social media. Rock and Rock Hall of Famers Robbie Robertson and Nile Rodgers called Cornell a “brilliant vocalist” and a “great artist.” Speaking to the BBC ahead of the Ivor Novello Awards in London Thursday night Rodgers said the news “broke my heart.” “Our friendship was probably based on mutual admiration for musicianship, but we were just friends hanging out. We were much more friends as regular people than we were musical colleagues but if we picked up guitars together we’d be killing,” Rodgers said.
Led Zeppelin guitarist and founder Jimmy Page said he was “incredibly talented” and would be “incredibly missed.” Posting an image of himself with Cornell, Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry said it was “a sad loss of a great talent.” Actor and Spinal Tap member Michael McKean said the singer was the “real deal.”
Chris Cornell was a brilliant vocalist. Incredibly sad news.
— Robbie Robertson (@r0bbier0berts0n) May 18, 2017
— Nile Rodgers (@nilerodgers) May 18, 2017
RIP Chris Cornell
Incredibly Missed. pic.twitter.com/pKNI4tKiXz
— Jimmy Page (@JimmyPage) May 18, 2017
Very sad news about Chris Cornell today. A sad loss of a great talent to the world, his friends and family. Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/BlgxE6cJLH
— Joe Perry (@JoePerry) May 18, 2017
Chris Cornell was the real deal. A great voice, one of the best. And a sense of damned humor. RIP.
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) May 18, 2017
Rock legends Peter Frampton, Elton John and Paul Stanley of Kiss also took to Twitter to express their sadness and respect for the singer. Frampton said Cornell was a “brilliant artist on so many levels.” John said as well as being a great singer and songwriter Cornell had been “the loveliest man.”
Shocking news Chris Cornell passing last night in Detroit. Brilliant artist on so many levels. I am in shock. My condolences to his family.
— Peter Frampton (@peterframpton) May 18, 2017
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) May 18, 2017
STUNNED to hear the death of Chris Cornell. Music's loss. Greater still, his family has lost a father&husband. RIP. https://t.co/5NGC2YCcz1
— Paul Stanley (@PaulStanleyLive) May 18, 2017
Country music group Zac Brown Band, who worked with Cornell on their 2015 hit “Heavy is the Head,” said Cornell was a “true talent and gentleman” who had “touched so many” with his music.
Canadian singer and former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach said he had tears in his eyes as he reminisced over several tweets about touring with Cornell, drawing attention to Cornell’s own final tweet posting last night in Detroit.
Drummer Mike Portnoy, of progressive metal rock band Dream Theater said Cornell was “one of the benchmark vocalists of our generation,” a sentiment echoed by Smashing Pumpkins’ drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, while Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Linda Perry called him a “gifted, sweet, loving soul with a voice as chilling and deep as the ocean.”
Chris Cornell touched so many & we were fortunate to have worked w/ him. He was a true talent & gentleman. Our thoughts are with his family.
— Zac Brown Band (@zacbrownband) May 18, 2017
— Sebastian Bach (@sebastianbach) May 18, 2017
— Mike Portnoy 🤘 (@MikePortnoy) May 18, 2017
So sad about @chriscornell passing. Truly one of the greatest singers of our generation and a kind soul. Thoughts go out to loved ones.
— Jimmy Chamberlin (@jccomplex) May 18, 2017
Woke to terribly sad news, Chris Cornell passed away. A gifted sweet loving soul with a voice as chilling & deep as the ocean. Powerful!
— LINDA PERRY (@RealLindaPerry) May 18, 2017
Halestorm lead vocalist Lzzy Hale paid tribute to the singer on her Instragram account. Hale said Cornell’s influence on her would always show itself in the music she created. Hale said: “Chris we thank you for the loudness, the guts, blood and the sweat you gave us in this life. We will all carry your legacy forever.”
View this post on Instagram
There are no words to describe my feelings about Chris Cornells sudden passing. His influence on me and the way so many others approached the microphone will always show itself in the music we create. He is survived by his wife and three kids including a beautiful daughter whom I heard also has an amazing voice of her own. Chris, we aren't sure what demons or circumstances brought you to your passing at only 52… but we thank you for the loudness, the guts, blood and the sweat you gave us in this life … we will all carry your legacy forever. #chriscornell …say hello to heaven.
Other tributes poured in from across the entertainment world, including Alex Gaskarth, frontman of U.S. rock band All Time Low; British punk rocker Billy Idol; former Red Hot Chilli Peppers member Dave Navarro; Hollywood actor Elijah Wood; filmmaker Ava DuVernay; British pop band Duran Duran; Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale; U.S. singer-songwriter St. Vincent; Jane’s Addiction singer Perry Farrell; L.A. rock duo Best Coast; and British musician Julian Lennon. Posting an image of Cornell on his Instagram page Lennon said the singer was “without question unique.”
Rest easy, Chris Cornell. One of the best. Thank you for years and years of great music.
— BOO-Lex Skelekarth 💀👻🎃🥋 (@AlexGaskarth) May 18, 2017
Sad 2 hear of Chris Cornell passing..great singer and artist… another blow…RIP
— Billy Idol (@BillyIdol) May 18, 2017
Oh man. Sad to hear of the passing of Chris Cornell.
— Elijah Wood (@elijahwood) May 18, 2017
Chris Cornell's lyrics + voice have loomed large for me since '94. "Fell on Black Days" now playing in tribute. Damn. May he rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/lVSDCJXX9O
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) May 18, 2017
RIP Chris Cornell, fellow of the BOND and co-author of the great grunge epic, Superunknown pic.twitter.com/DuCfGaWgYx
— Duran Duran (@duranduran) May 18, 2017
I AM SO SADDENED BY CHRIS CORNELL PASSING. @soundgarden
TOTAL SHOCK.GREAT MAN.GREAT BAND.GREAT LOSS. LOVE TO EVERYONE IN HIS WORLD. XXX
— GAVIN ROSSDALE (@GavinRossdale) May 18, 2017
Chris Cornell. Damn. Was legit just playing "Outshined" yesterday. Such a loss.
— St. Vincent (@st_vincent) May 18, 2017
A shining voice in music has left us in the midnight. He was a complex and gentle soul #ChrisCornell has flown into the black hole sun.
— Perry Farrell (@perryfarrell) May 18, 2017
RIP. So young. So sad 😞 pic.twitter.com/61JjmdVFDC
— Best Coast (@BestCoast) May 18, 2017