His children Toni and Christopher accepted the award. Cornell’s widow Vicky Cornell also attended the ceremony, like last year.
Daughter Toni honored her dad earlier in the day on the red carpet by wearing a shirt with his portrait on it. Following the win, she told reporters “it was sad he couldn’t be there to accept it for something he was so proud of and worked so hard on. At the same time, we’re so proud of him. It was bittersweet.”
Cornell, a key figure in Seattle’s ’90s grunge scene, founded Soundgarden in 1984 with guitarist Kim Thayil, drummer Matt Cameron, and bassist Hiro Yamamoto. The band won two Grammy Awards in 1995. Cornell performed solo after Soundgarden broke up two years later. He then joined Audioslave, which included former Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello, Brad Wilk, and Tim Commerford. Soundgarden reunited in 2012.
Cornell had struggled with substance abuse at several points during his adult life and admitted in 2009 that he had been in rehab for an addiction to OxyContin. He said at the time, he had been sober since 2002, but his wife claimed his behavior changed after he was prescribed the painkiller benzodiazepine, approximately a year before his death, to help him sleep after a shoulder injury.