TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – When “Deuce,” 98 Rock’s afternoon radio host’s, phone started blowing up early Thursday morning, he didn’t know what was going on. He started receiving messages from a number of friends talking about Chris Cornell.
He hopped online and learned the former lead singer of Soundgarden had been found dead.
“When I first saw it, I was like, ‘this isn’t real,'” said Deuce. “We just had him here for 98 Rockfest in Tampa at Amalie Arena two weeks ago and everything was fine.”
Initial reports say Cornell took his own life.
“Soundgarden was only one of the bands Cornell touched,” said Deuce. “You’re talking about a gentleman, various bands from Soundgarden to Audioslave to Temple of the Dog.”
Deuce was behind the microphone on Thursday afternoon and fielded a number of calls from Cornell’s fans.
“A lot of sadness, people are putting out their favorite songs,” said Deuce. “So you’re starting to get a lot of people calling and tweeting in asking to play a particular song, a song maybe they haven’t heard in many years.”
He adds that iHeart radio has set up a Chris Cornell Playlist on its free app.
In this age of immediate dissemination of information, listeners want answers right away. Saying Cornell took his own life simply isn’t enough. They want to know, was there a note? What led to his death? Were there any mental issues that ultimately led to this end?
“They’re calling it suicide by hanging,” Deuce told his listeners. “But, like I said before, but his wife is disputing that, so only time will tell.”
Dr. Dae Sheridan is a mental health professional who is also fielding questions about the Chris Cornell story. She told News Channel 8 it’s too early to speculate as to what led to Cornell’s ultimate end.
“Everybody is clamoring for information about this, because it’s a celebrity. People jump to conclusions. Gossip gets started,” said Dr. Sheridan, who is hopeful this national story leads to more local conversations.
“The real issue is getting people to understand that things can get better. Psychiatric illness and mental illness crisis are treatable and it does not have to mean that this is the end.”
As for Deuce, he had the benefit of meeting Cornell in person several times and interviewing him. He’s now urging his listeners to be patient as we all wait for answers.
“Just remember this before you start getting angry on social media and Facebook. It took months for them to figure out about Prince. It took them months to figure out about Michael Jackson, and I have a feeling that his story is not officially over yet,” he said.
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