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Tears, laughter flow from crowd of 400 at Chris Cornell wake at KEXP

From Seattle’s Volunteer Park to radio studios to red lights downtown, people mourned the death of Soundgarden lead singer Chris Cornell Thursday night.

On Thursday afternoon, around a dozen people gathered at the Volunteer Park sculpture “Black Sun” and blasted Soundgarden songs.

According to local music lore, the mammoth, 1969 sculpture with a hole in the middle was the inspiration for “Black Hole Sun,” a radio hit for Soundgarden, whose lead singer and rhythm guitarist, Chris Cornell, committed suicide the night before.

“This music was always around, always part of our culture,” said Lacey Alameda, sitting next to a turned-up speaker. “It’s tragic, she added, “that when no matter how much talent you have, there’s something that big missing inside of you.”

Radio Celebration of Chris Cornell

WHAT: A full day of on-the-fly music programming, centered on the life, career, and musical connections of the late Chris Cornell and the artists he has collaborated with and inspired.

WHERE: KEXP.org and 90.3 FM, Seattle

WHEN: Friday, May 19, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST

OTHER: For more information, go to http://blog.kexp.org/kexp-presents-six-degrees-of-chris-cornell-day/

KEXP

A few hours later, around 400 people showed up to the KEXP studios at Seattle Center for a quickly organized memorial.

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The room was full of teary eyes and a broad spectrum of people who’d come to pay tribute.

“Part of our city died today,” KEXP DJ John Richards said from the stage. “But I’m selfish — I just wanted to have a place to hang out and mourn and wanted all of you to be here … It’s OK to grieve and be sad. It’s OK to cry.”

He also said people should feel a “green light to grieve those we don’t know personally, as well.”

“There’s been a lot of crying in Seattle today,” said Mike Reilly, who was a neighbor of Soundgarden bassist, Ben…

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