ALICE IN CHAINS guitarist Jerry Cantrell has told Rolling Stone magazine that Chris Cornell was "the last guy in the world I thought that would happen to," referring to the SOUNDGARDEN frontman's tragic passing in Detroit. "That's not the way that book was supposed to end. And it was not the way that book was going."
Cantrell, whose band lost its original singer, Layne Staley, to a drug overdose in 2002, said that Cornell, represented "a strong strain running through [Seattle] — he was always so honest, from the moment I met him. I share a lot of the issues Chris communicated" in his songwriting. "And there's a power in sharing your weakness with the people who need to hear that, so they can consider, 'Fuck, that guy's dealing with it.' You don't feel so alone."
Cornell "always had it, the same thing as when I saw Layne for the first time — the commitment to take that ride," Cantrell added. "There was something that I recognized and aspired to — to have your own voice and sound. Nobody else sounds like that guy. Nobody will.
"There is a space now and forever empty because of that," Cantrell said of Cornell's death. "It's never going to make sense. It's never going to feel right. And it's always going to hurt."
Cornell was found dead in his Detroit hotel room in the early hours of May 18, just a short time after he and SOUNDGARDEN had performed in that city. The cause of death was suicide by hanging, although toxicology results are still pending.
Various accounts of his final hours have suggested that he may have been under the influence either the anti-anxiety drug Ativan or other substances, although that all remains conjecture until the test results are officially revealed.
Rock and Hollywood royalty turned out for Cornell's funeral, which was held at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles on Friday (May 26). Attendees included his widow Vicky and two younger children, Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield of METALLICA, Dave Grohl of FOO FIGHTERS, NIRVANA's Krist Novoselic, Dave Navarro of JANE'S ADDICTION, Chester Bennington and Brad Delson of LINKIN PARK, Joe Walsh, Courtney Love, BUSH's Gavin Rossdale, ALICE IN CHAINS' Jerry Cantrell, members of SOUNDGARDEN, AUDIOSLAVE and PEARL JAM, Pharrell Williams, James Franco, Brad Pitt, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale, Josh Brolin and more.
Bennington performed Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" for the gathering, with many in attendance brought to tears.
Eulogies were given by Matt Cameron and Kim Thayil of SOUNDGARDEN, PEARL JAM's Jeff Ament, AUDIOSLAVE's Tom Morello, Brolin, Bennington and Delson, and Eric Esrailian, producer of the movie "The Promise".
The title song to that film, which Cornell wrote and performed, was also played at the service. The TEMPLE OF THE DOG song "All Night Thing" played as mourners walked from the service to the garden where Cornell's remains were interred.
Morello said during his eulogy, "Chris was as melodic as THE BEATLES, as rocking as SABBATH and as haunting as Edgar Allan Poe."
Flowers and several red roses were placed on Cornell's grave marker, which read, "Voice of our generation and an artist for all time."
Fans gathered outside the cemetery's gates hours before the start of a public memorial scheduled for 3:00 p.m. PT.