As the singer’s family and first responders dealt with the discovery of his body in a Detroit hotel room, drummer Matt Cameron saw an “R.I.P.” message on Facebook as his bus made its way to Columbus, Ohio, for a show that never took place.
The details were revealed in a court filing associated with the legal battle between Soundgarden and Cornell’s widow, Vicky. “Following the concert – as was customary – [Kim] Thayil, Cameron and [Ben] Shepherd made the late-night trip in the band’s tour buses,” the paperwork said (via Classic Rock). “Cornell stayed behind at a Detroit hotel with the plan to fly on to Columbus, as was his normal practice because Cornell was unable to sleep on buses.
“As their buses were headed to Columbus in the early morning of May 18, the surviving band members learned that Cornell had been found dead in his hotel room in Detroit after midnight (tragically, Cameron first saw a ‘RIP: Chris Cornell’ item on his Facebook page, called Thayil, who was on the other bus, who then woke Shepherd, and they and their crew frantically searched news, social media and called friends and family, until they received the awful confirmation from their tour manager).”
The trio was described as “utterly devastated” and “in a state of shock,” the filing continued. “As they pulled their buses to the roadside, embraced each other and struggled with what to do next, their tour manager advised them not to go back to Detroit, as it would be swimming with police, press and other media, and there was nothing positive that could be achieved. They also had a throng of highly distraught crew and tour team members already in or headed to Columbus who needed support.”
The paperwork noted Cameron, Shepherd and Thayil then “organized a vigil in a conference room at their Columbus hotel, where they were accompanied by their crew, assistants and friends who hugged, wept and attempted to console each other for many hours.”
The court case centers on the ownership of recordings Cornell made before his death, which are held by Vicky, and alleged withholding of his royalties by the band. Both parties deny any wrongdoing.