DETROIT, Mich. (A.W.)—American musician, singer, and songwriter Chris Cornell died in Detroit on the night of May 17 at the age of 52. His representative, Brian Bumbery, called the death “sudden and unexpected” in a statement and announced that Cornell’s family would be “working closely with the medical examiner to determine the cause.”
Cornell, who is best known as the lead vocalist, primary songwriter, and rhythm guitarist for U.S.-rock band Soundgarden and as lead vocalist and songwriter for the supergroup Audioslave, released an original song on March 10 entitled “The Promise” for the feature film The Promise, about the Armenian Genocide.
“There are a couple of really amazing documentaries about the Armenian Genocide, and one of them was about the phenomenon that people who had literally minutes to grab what they could from their homes would take photos before anything else – before jewelry even,” Cornell told Rolling Stone magazine, when asked about the new song for the film. “I was really moved by that; the idea of what is most important to people in a crucial second.”
Cornell’s wife’s Greek family was also affected by the Armenian Genocide. “Literally, it’s the DNA that goes from my children back to my wife’s grandparents, who were both refugees of that policy,” Cornell told Billboard magazine in a recent interview. “It felt like that connection was there.”
When asked by Billboard if he ever suffered nightmares from watching films and documentaries of the genocide, Cornell responded by saying, “It was more like daymares. Especially seeing some of the images and some of the documentary footage. You can’t unsee it.”
Cornell had recently been busy promoting The Promise, attending the film’s New York and London premieres. Cornell also performed “The Promise” on April 19 on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, just two days before the wide release of the film, and on CBS Good Morning on April 22.
Below is video of the April 22 Performance.