To the world, late Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell was a larger-than-life grunge god and rock star. But to his older sibling, singer/songwriter Peter Cornell, he was “always just my brother.” In a heartfelt Facebook post in which he shared his emotions about Chris’ death, Peter Cornell reflected on what Chris meant to him and what the rock legend gave the world.
“It’s been difficult to put words together. My heart is broken. Chris was always just my brother. We just ‘were,'” Peter Cornell wrote of Chris, who died at age 52 of what the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s office deemed was suicide. “No pretense. No dog and pony show. We didn’t have to get deep all the time. Sometimes we only needed to just be in the same room and just be present. That was enough.”
More than a week after Cornell’s death, his brother said it finally hit him that Chris “belonged to the world. That he is an icon and a legend,” he wrote. “That being said, I am so sorry to YOU for your loss. Artists, actors, musicians. We rely on these people to lift us up. To inspire us and distract us in times of trouble. Chris protected us when we needed him to. His one of a kind-ness surrounded us like a suit of armor. He was a warrior and a wizard. A howling wolf and a trusted mentor.
“My brother gave freely of his gifts and it was never a struggle. He kept himself from the saturation of celebrity in such a humble way,” he continued. “The power and anger and passion of my brother’s music was always genuine, original and legitimate. He was the powerful, sensitive, fragile, angry, mystical creature that will exist forever in his body of work. And he did it for ALL of us. Giving it away. Leaving all on the stage or in the recordings that will keep him immortal.”
Peter Cornell said he will never be able to fully wrap his head around Chris’ passing and that he’s been in shock since the news first hit. “I can’t and I won’t let him go,” he vowed. “Please know, with all the humility I can muster from the depths of a pulverized heart, I THANK EACH OF YOU for your kindness and condolences.”
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This article originally appeared in Billboard.