Detroit – — Dozens of fans and supporters gathered outside the Fox Theatre on Friday night for a candlelight vigil honoring the late singer Chris Cornell.
Braving chilly air, the crowd of about 100 people paid their respects to the 52-year-old rock star outside the venue where he performed his final gig.
Shortly after the concert with his band Soundgarden in front of more than 5,000 attendees on Wednesday night, Cornell died in an apparent suicide at the MGM Grand Detroit hotel, Wayne County authorities determined.
Some who flocked to the Fox event led by the Metro-Detroit Political Action Network struggled to grasp the loss of a popular front man, who first gained alternative rock fame in the 1990s.
“I’ve loved him most of my life and it was an indescribable loss,” said Melissa Kidd, who traveled from Downriver with roses and lilies. “It’s hard to fathom.”
Kidd and Trish Paul of Allen Park both attended Cornell’s show Wednesday and woke up the next day to the shocking news.
“He was one of our era,” Paul said. “We grew up in the ’90s.”
To honor his legacy, musicians joined in with fans to perform songs that featured Cornell’s trademark vocals, including the Soundgarden single “Fell on Black Days.”
There also were counselors on hand Friday evening from groups such as Survivors of Suicide to offer help for mental health issues, organizers said.
Cornell’s death highlights a need to remind others about suicide prevention, said Rachel Montgomery, an outreach representative for the group that organized the vigil. “If you’re feeling suicidal, there are resources.”
Questions have surrounded what led to the death of Cornell, who also performed with the group Audioslave.
In a statement, an attorney representing his family raised the possibility that “drugs or other substances may have affected his actions.”
But while laying flowers and lighting candles, some fans preferred to remember Cornell’s impact on music.
“It was a huge part of my childhood,” Karol Simpson of Detroit said while cradling an ornament with the singer’s picture.
As a circle of fans joined in to sing, she shared what she considered his greatest traits: “His voice, the difference he made in the world.”