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The lead singer of US grunge rock band Soundgarden, Chris Cornell, died after hanging himself, according to medical officials.

The 52-year-old star, who also fronted Audioslave, was found dead in a Detroit hotel room following a Soundgarden concert at the Fox Theatre in the city.

Police said Cornell’s wife had called a family friend and asked him to check on the singer at the MGM Grand Detroit hotel.

Officers said the friend forced open a door and found Cornell in the bathroom.

The musician had tweeted a picture of the music venue shortly before the sold-out show, writing: “Finally back to Rock City!!!!!”.

Cornell's last tweet was published moments before his last show in Detroit

Image: Cornell’s last tweet was published before his last show in Detroit

His representative described his death on Wednesday night as “sudden and unexpected”, and said his wife and family were shocked by it.

A preliminary post-mortem examination has been carried out but “a full autopsy report has not yet been completed”, said the Wayne County medical examiner’s office.

Tributes have been paid on Twitter, with Jane’s Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Dave Navarro writing: “SO SO stunned to hear about Chris Cornell! Such a terrible and sad loss! Thinking of his family tonight! RIP”

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.”

“Shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Chris Cornell. A great singer, songwriter and the loveliest man,” wrote Elton John.

Cornell, who formed Soundgarden in 1984, was one of the leading voices of the 1990s grunge movement originating out of Seattle. He went on to form the noughties supergroup Audioslave.

Among his most famous songs were Soundgarden’s 1994 grunge theme Black Hole Sun, and Hunger Strike – a 1991 hit for another of his rock bands, Temple Of The Dog, where he teamed up with Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder.

Chris Cornell on the set of Casino Royale in 2006

Image: Cornell sang the theme song for Casino Royale in 2006

Cornell was also known for the James Bond theme song You Know My Name from the 2006 movie Casino Royale.

Soundgarden disbanded in 1997, and Cornell pursued a solo career

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

The band broke up in 2007 due to tensions in the group and Cornell continued to pursue his solo career.

He reunited with Soundgarden in 2012 and they released a sixth studio album, King Animal, that year.

Earlier this year he released a new solo single titled The Promise.

Soundgarden’s current tour kicked off in late April and it had been scheduled to run until 27 May.

Cornell was also a Grammy Award-winning, Golden Globe-nominated singer who became involved in philanthropy and started the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation to support children facing poverty and abuse.

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