Of all the people who’ve spoken about their relationship with Chris Cornell since his death in 2017, Pearl Jam‘s Eddie Vedder stayed relatively quiet about his. During a lengthy interview on the Howard Stern Show, the singer finally opened up about how he felt following the death of his friend.

The frontman tragically revealed that about a year before Cornell’s death, which would’ve been sometime in 2016, his younger brother Chris died in a climbing accident while living and working in Africa.

“That one took me down so hard — and my brothers and my mom — I seriously didn’t know if I was going to get out of that one,” he reflected. “It really hurt me to think of what my daughters were witnessing. But there was no hiding it, and it was a dark place, and I just couldn’t deal with the reality.”

“When it happened with Chris [Cornell]… I’ve had to be somewhat in denial,” he continued. “I was just terrified of where I would go if I allowed myself to feel what I needed to feel or what I was instinctively wanting to feel or how dark I felt like I was gonna go.”

Vedder recalled that he and Cornell had only seen each other around four or five times in the 10 years leading up to his death, and when they had, it was usually at a music event or concert.

“I still haven’t quite dealt with it,” he admitted. “I’ll get stronger as time goes, but we were close. It wasn’t just because we were playing music or we were neighbors. I would hang out with him outside of the band more than even the other band guys, and I didn’t know many people in Seattle.”

The two singers often spent time hiking together, mountain biking and other outdoor activities.

“It was cool because it had nothing to do with anything like being around other music people or being around some kind of L.A. life. It was just cool like, ‘Wow this is what a quote-unquote, legit rockstar … This is what he’s doing, he’s chasing a dog in the rain with his buddy on a Saturday night with a 12-pack of Schmidt?'”

Watch the interview clip below.

Cornell and Vedder formed a friendship following the death of Mother Love Bone‘s Andrew Wood in 1990. Vedder had traveled from San Diego to Seattle to audition for Pearl Jam while they were also working on the Temple of the Dog album, in which he provided vocals for the song “Hunger Strike.”

Fortunately, Vedder has been able to remain close to Cornell’s eldest daughter, Lily Cornell Silver, who is like a “big sister” to his own daughters Olivia and Harper. He was recently featured as a guest on her mental health talk show, Mind Wide Open

Eddie Vedder on Relationship With Chris Cornell — The Howard Stern Show

Pearl Jam With Chris Cornell – “Hunger Strike”

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