Soundgarden, Audioslave rocker Chris Cornell dies at age 52

Chris Cornell delivered his final gig at Detroit's Fox Theatre with his "usual visceral power", taking a packed crowd through a set of his greatest hits with the bands Soundgarden and Audioslave.

Hours later, he was found dead on the bathroom floor of his hotel room at the nearby MGM Grand Hotel. He was just 52 years old.

Rolling Stone said Cornell exhorted the sold-out crowd on Wednesday night (Thursday New Zealand time) to act as backing vocalists. He said: "I have bragged about Detroit crowds for 30 years, so stand the f--- up and make some noise".

His death has been declared suicide by a medical examiner.

A Detroit police spokesman said Cornell's wife called a family friend and asked him to check on Cornell the night he died. The friend forced open Cornell's hotel room door and found him.

Tributes flow for Soundgarden singer
* In photos: Chris Cornell

Cornell's family said the death was "sudden and unexpected".

Cornell was a trailblazer in the 90's grunge music scene. News of his death caused an outpouring of grief in the music world.  Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry tweeted: "Very sad news about Chris Cornell today. A sad loss of a great talent to the world, his friends and family. Rest In Peace."

With his powerful, nearly four-octave vocal range, Cornell was one of the leading voices of the 1990s grunge movement. His band, Soundgarden, formed in 1984 by Cornell, guitarist Kim Thayil and bassist Hiro Yamamoto, emerged as one of the biggest bands in Seattle's burgeoning music scene, along side the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains.

Soundgarden's third studio album, 1991's Badmotorfinger, spawned popular singles Jesus Christ PoseRusty Cage and Outshined that received regular play on alternative rock radio stations.

Cornell also collaborated with members of what would become Pearl Jam to form Temple of the Dog, which produced a self-titled album in 1991 in tribute to friend Andrew Wood, former frontman of Mother Love Bone.

Three years later, Soundgarden broke through on mainstream radio with the album Superunknown, which debuted at No 1 on the Billboard 200 and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Record in 1995. It included hit singles Spoonman, Fell on Black Days, Black Hole Sun, My Wave and The Day I Tried to Live.

Soundgarden disbanded in 1997 due to tensions in the band, and Cornell pursued a solo career.

In 2001, he joined Audioslave, a supergroup that included former Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello, Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford.

The band released three albums in six years and also performed at a concert billed as Cuba's first outdoor rock concert by an American band, though some Cuban artists have disputed that claim.

Audioslave disbanded in 2007, but Cornell and Soundgarden reunited in 2010 and released the band's sixth studio album, King Animal in 2012.

Cornell also released four solo studio albums and a solo live album. He released the single The Promise in March on iTunes, with all proceeds going to the International Rescue Committee, a global humanitarian aid, relief, and development non-governmental organisation.

In addition to his music, Cornell also became involved in philanthropy and started the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation to support children facing challenges, including homelessness, poverty, abuse and neglect.

Where to get help
Lifeline: 0800 543 354 - Provides 24 hour telephone counselling
Youthline: 0800 376 633 or free text 234 - Provides 24 hour telephone and text counselling services for young people
Samaritans: 0800 726 666 - Provides 24 hour telephone counselling.
Tautoko: 0508 828 865 - provides support, information and resources to people at risk of suicide, and their family, whānau and friends.
Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (noon to 11pm)
Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (4pm - 6pm weekdays)
The Lowdown:  - website for young people ages 12 to 19.
National Depression Initiative - (for adults), 0800 111 757 - 24 hour service
If it is an emergency or you feel you or someone you know is at risk, please call 111
For information about suicide prevention, see

 - AP