By Ben Gruber
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Soundgarden rocker Chris Cornell was laid to rest on Friday in a funeral and memorial service at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery attended by celebrities Brad Pitt, Christian Bale and Courtney Love and the singer’s family.
Cornell, 52, was found dead in his hotel in Detroit last week hours after his band played a concert in the city. The Detroit Medical Examiners Office determined he had committed suicide by hanging himself.
Outside the cemetery, dozens of fans gathered to pay tribute to the grunge rocker.
“Honestly, it feels like I’ve had a death in my family,” said Regina Padilla, 42, who took the day off of work and drove 40 miles (60 km) to attend the service.
“I just feel like his life was cut short,” she added.
Cornell had spoken openly of his drug and alcohol addiction in the past, as well as periods of depression and agoraphobia.
But his wife, Vicky, said last week she did not believe the singer intended to kill himself, suggesting that an anxiety drug he was taking may have played a role in impairing his judgment.
In an emotional open letter published by Billboard this week, she said she was sorry she was not with her husband the night he died.
“I’m sorry, my sweet love, that I did not see what happened to you that night,” she wrote. “I’m sorry you were alone, and I know that was not you, my sweet Christopher.”
After Soundgarden broke up in 1997, Cornell in 2001 joined members of Rage Against The Machine to form Audioslave, which released an acclaimed self-titled album. Soundgarden reunited in 2010 and the band embarked on its latest tour in April.
“A lot of his lyrics could be sad, but his music was so beautiful,” said fan Chris Heathcoat, 46, who brought white roses to the cemetery.
“Chris was also like that second brother I never had that can sing my pain away or sing me to sleep or wake me up and give me the determination to move on,” he said.
Seattle-born Cornell was the latest member of the elite 1990s grunge rock movement to die from either a drug overdose or suicide. Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, who was married to Courtney Love, killed himself in 1994. Layne Staley of Alice in Chains and Scott Weiland of the Stone Temple Pilots both died of drug overdoses.
(Reporting by Reuters Television; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)