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Chris Cornell ended last performance with song about death

Posted at 11:12 AM, May 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-18 11:12:44-04

DETROIT — In my time of dying, I want nobody to mourn/All I want for you to do is take my body home

Those are the opening lines to the last song Chris Cornell ever sang on stage. It was a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “In My Time of Dying.”

Cornell and his band Soundgarden have covered the song before and they did it again to close out the show at Detroit’s Fox Theater on Wednesday. Just hours later, Cornell was found dead. He was 52.

Cornell’s is being investigated as a “possible suicide,” a spokesman for the Detroit Police Department told CNN.

A family friend called 911 around midnight Thursday after he went to check on Cornell and found the musician “unresponsive” on the bathroom floor at the MGM Grand hotel, spokesman Michael Woody said. Emergency medical personnel arrived, and Cornell was pronounced dead at the scene, he said.

“We are moving in the direction of a possible suicide but we are waiting on the Medical Examiner’s Office to provide their report,” Woody said.

“Honestly something looked off last night with him,” concert attendee Joey Mugan told CNN. “I just didn’t think about it because the show was great.”

In the wave of mourning that followed, Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page paid his respects:

In his time at the top of the rock and grunge scene, Cornell battled substance abuse and other demons that also plagued so many of his contemporaries.

“I’ve lost a lot of young, brilliant friends, people that I thought were very inspired,” he lamented to Rolling Stone in 2015. “They’re all young and these guys all had limitless potential in their lives in front of them.”

In recent years, Cornell had seemed to hit a new groove. He moved to Florida with his family and opened up about his long term sobriety.

“It was a long slow slide and then a long slow recovery, but there was self-discovery too,” Cornell told the Mirror in 2012 about his battle with alcoholism. He said having a musical identity, and supportive band members and friends, made all of the difference.

“I was very lucky I was able to see that and not take it for granted. It helped me climb out of the mire. I saw how hard it could be,” he said.

Fittingly, the last song Cornell ever released was called “The Promise.” It ends with this refrain:

And one promise you made

One promise that always remains

No matter the price

A promise to survive

Persevere and thrive

And dare to rise once more

A promise to survive

Persevere and thrive

And fill the world with life

As we’ve always done