Metallica’s James Hetfield Had A Moving, Deeply Empathetic Response To Chris Cornell’s Suicide

Managing Editor, Music

Metallica frontman James Hetfield was a guest on one of Boston’s radio rock stations, WAAF, shortly after the tragic death of Chris Cornell last week, it was ruled a suicide though his wife has questioned whether medication he was on for anxiety was involved.

Obviously, the subject of his death was something that the host asked Hetfield about, given Metallica’s stature in the rock world. What’s pretty incredible, though, is Hetfield’s deeply empathetic response to Cornell’s choice. While others like the former guitarist of the Foo Fighters have mistakenly referred to suicide as a “selfish” act, Hetfield gets down to the gritty truth of what someone suffering from that kind of depression is going through.

“It does make you hug those around you, for sure,” he said. “Bandmates, family that’s out here, family that’s at home. It makes you realize that, you know, there’s a darkness that anyone and everyone can find, and feel that they’re trapped in. When you’re there — and at least I know the depth of my darkness at times — it is difficult when you’re in that space, to even fathom that there’s someone there that can help you or has been through that before. Sometimes you’re just at such a loss. I obviously can’t explain what he was going through, but we all have our darknesses.”

He concludes with a to fans to check in with each other, and an expression of gratitude that Metallica gets to keep making music together.

“Check in with each other, check in with each other and let people know how you’re doing. It’s a sad story, and there’s a lot of sad stories recently, especially in the grunge world, losing a lot of people… it just makes us even more grateful to be out here doing what we’re doing here.”

Watch the interview above and read our tribute to Chris Cornell here.

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