In 2012, King Animal was Soundgarden's first studio album in 15 years. Lead singer Chris Cornell died Wednesday night in Detroit. A representative said the 52-year-old's death was "sudden and unexpected." Courtesy of the artist hide caption toggle caption Courtesy of the artist The Two-Way Death Of Chris Cornell, Powerhouse Voice Of Soundgarden, Ruled A Suicide May 18, 2017 A medical examiner has determined the cause of Cornell's death Wednesday night to be suicide by hanging. The powerhouse frontman helped forge not just a distinctive sound, but an entire genre.