People.com Entertainment Music From Kurt Cobain to Chris Cornell: '90s Rock Stars That Left Us Too Soon Cornell is sadly the latest in a long line of grunge-era stars who've died tragic deaths By Kate Hogan Kate Hogan Instagram Twitter Kate Hogan is Director of Digital Specials and Features at PEOPLE. In her 14 years at the brand, she has covered everything from pets and babies to style and Sexiest Man Alive, interviewing celebrities including Céline Dion, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson and Chris Evans. Currently, she oversees the creation of photo galleries that complement breaking news and major PEOPLE moments like The Beautiful Issue and 100 Reasons to Love America. She has offered expert celebrity commentary on Good Morning America and Access Hollywood. Before joining PEOPLE in 2008, Kate was an editorial assistant at Morris Visitor Publications. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication and resides outside of Chicago with her husband and three kids. People Editorial Guidelines Updated on February 20, 2021 08:00 PM Share Tweet Pin Email 01 of 11 CHRIS CORNELL, 52 KMazur/WireImage The Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman was found unresponsive in his Detroit hotel room on May 17, 2017; his death was ruled a suicide. A family attorney released a statement implying it may not have been deliberate, however, saying, "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." 02 of 11 KURT COBAIN, 27 Frank Micelotta/Hulton Archive/Getty Cobain's death rocked the music world in 1994, after the young and troubled Nirvana frontman was found in his Seattle home with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He left behind wife Courtney Love and their young daughter, Frances Bean. 03 of 11 KRISTEN PFAFF, 27 CHARLES SYKES/REX/Shutterstock Love lost another member of her inner circle in 1994 when Pfaff (second from left), the bassist of her band Hole, died of acute opiate intoxication in her Seattle apartment. A bag containing drug paraphernalia was found near her body. 04 of 11 JONATHAN MELVOIN, 34 Melvoin, who was touring with the Smashing Pumpkins as a keyboardist, died in his Manhattan hotel room in 1996 after using heroin with the band's drummer, Jimmy Chamberlin. 05 of 11 LAYNE STALEY, 34 Annamaria DiSanto/WireImage The Alice in Chains frontman died at home in Seattle eight years to the day after Cobain, the result of mixing cocaine and heroin. The singer had long battled both drug abuse and depression. 06 of 11 MIKE STARR, 44 Annamaria DiSanto/WireImage Another former member of Alice in Chains, bassist Starr (right) died as a result of mixing Xanax and alcohol at a home in Salt Lake City in March 2012. The musician was another who had faced drug abuse for years, even appearing on Celebrity Rehab in 2010. 07 of 11 DOUG HOPKINS, 32 The Gin Blossoms' lead guitarist, who struggled with alcoholism, made his misery the focus of many of the group's songs, and it's what ultimately led him to his death in 1994 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was found in his home in Tempe, Arizona. 08 of 11 STEFANIE SARGENT, 24 DanStone1966/Wikimedia 7 Year Bitch guitarist Sargent (third from left) was just back home in Seattle after a New York City concert when she overdosed on heroin in 1992. 09 of 11 SHANNON HOON, 28 Blind Melon lead singer Hoon was found dead on his band's tour bus in a New Orleans parking lot in 1995, the result of an accidental cocaine overdose. The rocker had several run-ins with the law in years prior, and his mother told Rolling Stone that "when he got into drugs I just gave up hope." 10 of 11 SCOTT WEILAND, 48 Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty The former Stone Temple Pilots singer died while touring with his new band, The Wildabouts, in Bloomington, Minnesota in 2015. The cause of death was found to be a mix of cocaine, ethanol (alcohol) and MDA (a relative of ecstasy). In a candid open letter in Rolling Stone, his ex-wife and mother of his teen children, Mary, wrote, "Let's choose to make this the first time we don't glorify this tragedy with talk of rock and roll and the demons that, by the way, don't have to come with it." 11 of 11 BRADLEY NOWELL, 28 Though not necessarily a grunge artist, Nowell was also a tragic '90s loss, overdosing on heroin in his San Francisco hotel room in 1996 just seven days after his wedding - and 11 months after the birth of his son.