Chris Cornell was found dead Wednesday night from an apparent suicide at the age of 52. Those who knew him personally talked to us about Cornell’s skills as a father, his overwhelming talent, and the sadness they felt at his passing.
“Chris Cornell, in our circle, was known as ‘The Voice’ because he had the best voice in rock and roll,” rock legend Alice Cooper told Fox News. “I was lucky enough to write and record two songs with him. His death comes as a total shock to all of us. ‘Black Hole Sun’ will live on as a classic, and his is a true legacy of rock and roll.”
Actor Eric Roberts, who starred in the 2015 music video for Cornell’s “Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart,” said he instantly connected with the rocker.
“What we were most struck by during our boiling hot days on set shooting the video was that Chris was the warmest, most mama-bear-like Dad we had every known,” Roberts told Fox News via email. “He glowed way more talking about his kids that day than he did from the heat.”
Roberts called Cornell “a natural” father and said he believed Cornell lived a sober life.
“Chris was a long-time sober guy, and had boundless sensitivity to the depression and self-abuse that can occur among artists at every level, having their day in the sun, hoping for their day and re-discovering their day.
“The only message we ever knew him to send was one of hope and the unselfishness of self-respect.”
Musician Keaton Simons toured with Cornell in 2015 and recounted working with him.
Simons said the singer “made the music he wanted to make.”
“He wasn’t concerned about having a hit song. In that way he was an inspiration to all artists,” said Simons. “He was a legend in his own time. A true natural talent.”
Simons said he looked up to Cornell and it was an “honor and a privilege to spend time and make music with him.”
Vernon Reid of the band Living Colour added: “There are barely any words to describe my grief over the loss of Chris Cornell… His impact as a singer, songwriter and guitarist will be felt for generations to come.
Reid added that he was thinking of Cornell’s family and bandmates “in this time of shock and sadness.”
The Soundgarden frontman died after a performance in Detroit alone in his hotel room at the MGM Grand Hotel.
A medical examiner has determined Cornell killed himself by hanging in a room at the MGM Grand hotel in following a concert.
In a 1994 Rolling Stone interview he explained his past drug use and struggles with anxiety.
“I went from being a daily drug user at 13 to having bad drug experiences and quitting drugs by the time I was 14 and then not having any friends until the time I was 16.” He continued, “There was about two years where I was more or less agoraphobic and didn’t deal with anybody, didn’t talk to anybody, didn’t have any friends at all. All the friends that I had were still f—ed up with drugs and were people that I didn’t really have anything in common with.”
In 2012 he told the Mirror about when Soundgarden split apart briefly leaving him to turn to substances during his dark times.
“It’s something that would have happened even if Soundgarden had stayed together. It was a long slow slide and then a long slow recovery, but there was self-discovery too,” explained Cornell. “For me it was mostly alcohol – from my late teens until my late thirties.”
But he sought help and got sober at rehab before forming what was going to become a mega successful band, Audioslave.
“I came out of rehab and immediately went on tour with Audioslave, sold millions of records and was playing in front of crowds of 10,000 or 20,000,” Cornell said to the Mirror.