Chris Cornell’s Family: Prescription Drugs May Have Played a Part in Death

Chris Cornell’s wife, Vicky Cornell, issued a statement on Friday, May 19, following the death of the Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman.

“Chris’s death is a loss that escapes words and has created an emptiness in my heart that will never be filled,” the statement read. “As everyone who knew him commented, Chris was a devoted father and husband. He was my best friend. His world revolved around his family first and of course, his music, second.”

Chris Cornell and Vicky Karayiannis at the Los Angeles Premiere of The Promise at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 12, 2017.
Chris Cornell and Vicky Karayiannis at the Los Angeles Premiere of The Promise at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 12, 2017. Sara De Boer/

She also detailed the days leading up to the rocker’s death, which has been ruled a suicide. “He flew home for Mother’s Day to spend time with our family. He flew out mid-day Wednesday, the day of the show, after spending time with the children. When we spoke before the show, we discussed plans for a vacation over Memorial Day and other things we wanted to do. When we spoke after the show, I noticed he was slurring his words; he was different. When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him,” the statement continued. “What happened is inexplicable and I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details. I know that he loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life.”

The couple wed in Paris in 2004. They have two children, Toni, 12, and Christopher, 11. The singer also has a daughter Lillian, 16, from his previous marriage to Susan Silver.

As previously reported, the late star was found dead in the early hours of Thursday, May 18, after performing for a sold-out crowd at Detroit’s Fox Theater. A Detroit police spokesperson told Us Weekly that a family friend found him on the bathroom floor of his hotel room at the MGM Grand Hotel. The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that his death was “determined as suicide by hanging,” but the full autopsy report has not yet been completed.

Cornell’s family attorney Kirk Pasich also released a statement explaining that the prescription drug the singer was taking could have contributed to his death. “Without the results of toxicology tests, we do not know what was going on with Chris — or if any substances contributed to his demise,” Pasich said. “Chris, a recovering addict, had a prescription for Ativan and may have taken more Ativan than recommended dosages. The family believes that if Chris took his life, he did not know what he was doing, and that drugs or other substances may have affected his actions.”

If you or anyone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to be connected to a local crisis center for confidential emotional support. 

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