Entertainment Celebrity The final hours of Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell: fans sensed ‘something wasn’t right’

The final hours of Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell: fans sensed ‘something wasn’t right’

Chris Cornell with his wife of 13 years, Vicky Karayiannis. Photo: Getty
Tweet Share Reddit Pin EmailComment

Musician Chris Cornell sang about death and performed just hours before taking his own life at the age of 52.

Details have emerged about the final moments of the former Audioslave and Soundgarden frontman, who was found dead in his room at the MGM Grand Detroit hotel shortly after midnight on Thursday morning (US time).

Medical examiners later ruled his death a suicide.

Those who attended Cornell’s sold-out final performance at the Fox Theatre in Detroit on Wednesday night said it was clear “something wasn’t right” with the singer.

“He often staggered back and forth across the stage, and seemed weak in his movements,” journalist Ashley Zlatopolsky wrote for the Detroit Free Press.

“Just one or two songs in, it was as if the energy had exited his body, and what was left was a shell of a man scrambling to do his job.”

Zlatopolsky added that it seemed Cornell “wasn’t mentally present” and grew agitated at times.

Photographer Ken Settle was also in the crowd and told People magazine that Cornell appeared uncharacteristically “joyous”.

“He was really interactive with the audience,” Settle said.

“He said it very sincerely, that ‘I’ve been telling people how great Detroit rock audiences really are’.

“He said it like he really meant it. But then he followed it by saying, ‘I feel really sorry for the next city’.”

Fans who waited outside the venue to meet Cornell after the performance told the Daily Mail he seemed “normal”, telling them he “loved them” and would see them at his next gig (a performance in Columbus, Ohio, scheduled for Friday).

Eerily, the final song on Cornell’s set list was a cover of Led Zeppelin’s In My Time of Dying, which features the lyrics: “In my time of dying I want nobody to mourn, all I want for you to do is take my body home”.

See footage from Cornell’s final performance

Leaving the theatre just after 11pm following the two-hour show, Cornell and his band greeted fans before boarding a bus and returning to their hotel.

It is believed Cornell died within an hour of leaving the venue.

His final Facebook post, shared to the social media platform on Wednesday afternoon (US time), was a Soundgarden lyric from the band’s song By Crooked Steps: “I’m the shape of the hole / Inside your heart”.

The beloved singer’s death was a shock to many, particularly his wife of 13 years, Vicky Karayiannis, who reportedly told friends she spoke to him before his gig and that he showed “no signs of being suicidal”.

Cornell is survived by his wife of 13 years, Vicky, his daughters Lillian and Toni, and his son Christopher.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

Beyondblue: 1300 224 636 or www.beyondblue.org.au

Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800

View Comments