On September 29, 2009, Alice in Chains, released their first record since the death of Layne Staley, Black Gives Way to Blue, and toured in support of the album.  The album includes songs which Cantrell described as "the heaviest he's ever written", and has Cantrell singing lead vocals on most of the songs and William DuVall as co-lead vocalist. The title track is a tribute to Layne Staley written and sung by Cantrell, accompanied by Elton John playing piano.  In the months before writing the song, Cantrell had been suffering from an unexplained illness.  Cantrell believes the mystery illness was the pain of saying goodbye to Staley.  He told Guitar World, "I got deathly ill. I had these mystery migraines, intense physical pain, and I'd even gotten a spinal tap to test for certain things. They never could find anything wrong with me. I felt I was puking up all this undigested grief in losing Layne. " Once Cantrell started writing the song and the rest of the album, his mystery illness disappeared.  Cantrell, Mike Inez and Sean Kinney also thanked Staley in the album's liner notes.  The album was certified Gold by the RIAA in May 2010, selling over 500,000 copies in the U. S.