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."
Three years later, Soundgarden released "Superunknown," a mainstream music scene success that earned the band two Grammys after it reached the top of music lists.
The band's "wild soundscapes combined visceral punk attitude with artistic depth," his bio said on his website.
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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