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  • Chris Cornell speaks at the 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Los Angeles, April 18, 2013.

    Chris Cornell speaks at the 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Los Angeles, April 18, 2013. | Photo: Reuters

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Cornell had an extensive solo career as a singer, songwriter, guitarist, composer and lyricist over three decades in the music business.

U.S. musician Chris Cornell, who gained fame as the lead singer of Soundgarden and later Audioslave, died on Wednesday in Detroit, his representative said. He was 52.

Cornell's family would be working closely with the medical examiner to determine the cause, representative Brian Bumbery said in a statement.

"His wife Vicky and family were shocked to learn of his sudden and unexpected passing," Bumbery said. "They would like to thank his fans for their continuous love and loyalty and ask that their privacy be respected at this time."

Seattle-born Cornell was the lead singer of Soundgarden, one of the leading bands in the grunge music movement in the '80s and '90s. In 1991, the band released platinum album "Badmotorfinger."

In 2001, Cornell joined members of Rage Against The Machine to form Audioslave, which earned acclaim with its self-titled album that earned three-platinum status.

Cornell also had an extensive solo career as a singer, songwriter, guitarist, composer and lyricist and worked with various other musicians over three decades in the music business.

The Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation raises funds and partners with organizations to support children facing homelessness, poverty and abuse.

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