“Although tonight is a time to celebrate the music and artists of the past year, it’s also a time to recall a member of our community we lost this past week,” he said. “Soundgarden and Audioslave’s Chris Cornell was a true innovator. A musical architect and pioneer on the cutting edge of the Seattle grunge movement. He was a prolific songwriter, a legendary performer, a singer who had a voice for the ages, and a philanthropist — whose Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation helped so many children around the world.”
“Even though Chris is gone, his legacy endures,” Reynolds continued. “We send our respects as well as our love to Chris’ family at this time. Please join us in a moment of silence to remember Chris Cornell.”
Cornell was found dead in his Detroit hotel room after his concert on Wednesday night at age 52. The medical examiner ruled the death a suicide by hanging, but the star’s family released a statement Friday morning saying he was not suicidal and that the side effects of prescription drugs he was taking may have led to his death.
“Without the results of toxicology tests, we do not know what was going on with Chris — or if any substances contributed to his demise,” the family’s attorney Kirk Pasich said in a statement. “Chris, a recovering addict, had a prescription for Ativan and may have taken more Ativan than recommended dosages. The family believes that if Chris took his life, he did not know what he was doing, and that drugs or other substances may have affected his actions.”
Reynolds has been open about overcoming his past struggles with anxiety and depression while dealing with an inflammatory arthritic disease, Ankylosing spondylitis. The band paid their condolences on Twitter earlier in the week, writing: “Rest In Peace Chris. you inspired us as well as millions of artists around the world.”
Soundgarden was at the forefront of the ’90s grunge music scene that rose out of Seattle. Their hits included “Spoonman,” ”Fell on Black Days,” ”Black Hole Sun,” “My Wave” and “The Day I Tried to Live,” and the band was nominated for multiple Billboard Music Awards in 1994.
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After Soundgarden broke up in 1997, Cornell performed solo before joining supergroup Audioslave, consisting of former Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello, Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford.
Soundgarden reunited in 2010 and released their sixth studio album, King Animal, two years later.
Cornell, who will be laid to rest Friday, leaves wife Vicky and their two children, daughter Toni, 12, and son Christopher, 11, as well as daughter Lillian, 16, from his previous marriage to Susan Silver.
The 2017 Billboard Music Awards are airing live on both costs from Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena on ABC.