Last Updated: March 27, 2024
Richest CelebritiesRock Stars
Net Worth:
$40 Million
Jul 20, 1964 - May 17, 2017 (52 years old)
6 ft 2 in (1.9 m)
Singer, Songwriter, Singer-songwriter, Musician, Guitarist, Businessperson, Chef, Restaurateur
United States of America
💰 Compare Chris Cornell's Net Worth

What Was Chris Cornell's Net Worth?

Chris Cornell was an American singer, songwriter, and musician who had a net worth of $40 million at the time of his death in 2017. The winner of three Grammy Awards, Chris Cornell was best known for his work as lead vocalist and guitarist of the rock bands Soundgarden and Audioslave. Chris died of an apparent suicide on May 18, 2017, in Detroit, Michigan, at the age of 52.

Early Life

Chris Cornell was born Christopher John Boyle on July 20, 1964, in Seattle, Washington. His parents, Karen Cornell and Edward Boyle, divorced when he was a teenager, and he had five siblings. Karen, a self-proclaimed psychic, is of Jewish descent, and Edwin, a pharmacist, was of Irish Catholic descent. As a child, Cornell took lessons for both the piano and guitar. He credited his exposure at a young age to Alice Cooper, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Beatles as influencing his early musical taste. He showed an aptitude for performance and consistent passion, putting on his first performance at school in the sixth grade. Chris began using marijuana and alcohol at the age of 12, and his early teen years were marked by periods of heavy drug use, followed by social isolation and sobriety. He attended Shorewood High School, but he dropped out before earning his diploma. When he was 16, he learned how to play the drums and started playing around in local bands. During this period, Cornell played a few shows with Kim Thayil and Hiro Yamamoto, with whom he would go on to form Soundgarden, but they didn't like each other enough at the time to form a band.


Cornell would end up reuniting with Thayil and Yamamoto later in 1984 to form Soundgarden. As well as performing lead vocals, he played drums until the group found their permanent drummer in Matt Cameron. Signed with the local recording label Sub Pop, Soundgarden released their debut EP "Screaming Life" in 1987 and a second album, "Fopp," the following year. Soundgarden grew in popularity as Seattle's grunge music scene expanded, and they released "Ultramega OK" in 1988 with the independent label SST Records. Soundgarden was considered one of the "big four" to come out of the Seattle grunge scene along with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains. Their debut album earned them a 1990 Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance.

Soundgarden reached widespread recognition with their 1991 album "Badmotorfinger," which featured three successful singles. The music video for the single "Jesus Christ Pose" was met with controversy due to its religious overtones, and it was pulled from MTV after protests." In 1992, they received their second Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance. Their fourth album, "Superunknown," brought them international recognition and critical acclaim. Shortly after its release in March 1994, it topped the Billboard 200 chart. It went 6x Platinum in the US, 3x Platinum in Australia and Canada, 2x Platinum in Sweden, and Platinum in the UK. The album earned the band two Grammys and an MTV Video Music Award.

The group's fifth album, "Down on the Upside," was released in 1996. The album was more subdued than their previous work with fewer heavy guitar riffs, but it was nevertheless widely praised by critics. Commercially, it performed well and had three chart-topping singles. It reached platinum status in the US, Canada, and Australia. The band's change in creative direction had not been taken unanimously, and tensions present before the album's production had intensified. The band was criticized for their unenthusiastic performances on the album's tour, and Cornell openly expressed a dislike for the repetition of touring. Soon after its conclusion in 1997, the band split up. Soundgarden reunited in 2010 and released the album "King Animal" in 2012

Chris Cornell Net Worth

Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Solo Career and Audioslave

Cornell recorded an album on his own and released "Euphoria Morning" in 1999 and went on his first solo tour. He proved to be a standout success critically, and the lead single received a Grammy nomination. The album did not perform as well commercially although attendance throughout his solo tour was high.

While working on material for his second album, Chris was contacted by the remaining members of the band Rage Against the Machine, who had recently lost their lead singer. The group hit it off with Cornell, and Audioslave was formed. They wrote 21 songs in 19 days of rehearsing and released their debut self-titled album in late 2002. It was met with mixed reactions among critics but was a commercial success with five hit singles. The album was certified 3x Platinum in the US and sold well internationally. Prior to the start of their first tour, there was speculation that Cornell had checked into rehab and fears that the tour would be canceled. Although he did check into a treatment facility, he left and was able to continue with the tour as scheduled.

The second Audioslave album, "Out of Exile," was released in 2005 and was praised critically. It debuted at #1 on the charts in four countries and sold well in the US and overseas. Cornell stated that the album contained some of his most personal songwriting thus far. The group released a third album, "Revelations," that was met with a lukewarm reception, and shortly afterward in 2006, Chris announced that he was leaving the band due to irreconcilable creative differences.

Personal Life

Cornell's first marriage was to former Soundgarden manager Susan Silver, and the pair had a daughter together in 2000. After the two divorced in 2004, Chris married publicist Vicky Karayiannis. The couple had two children together and started the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation in 2013 to help homeless youths.

Death and Legacy

Cornell was found dead in his Detroit hotel room on May 18, 2017. He had performed with Soundgarden just hours earlier, and he was only 52 years old at the time of his death. Chris had battled depression his whole life and admitted to having struggled with suicidal thoughts in the past. The coroner ruled his death a suicide, but his widow doubted this conclusion. Although the only drugs found in Cornell's system were prescribed, they were present at higher levels than prescribed, leading Vicky Cornell to believe his death was unintentional and to subsequently file a lawsuit against his former doctor for negligence in 2018.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
Did we make a mistake?
Submit a correction suggestion and help us fix it!
Submit a Correction