Society

Chris Cornell's Wife: Drugs May Have Led To Suicide

| by Michael Howard

Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell's family does not believe he deliberately took his own life, speculating drugs may have played a role in his death.

The 52-year-old rocker was found dead in his Detroit hotel room in the early morning hours of May 18. He reportedly had a band around his neck, and within hours the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office determined that the cause of death was "suicide by hanging," according to E! Online.

The office added that "a full autopsy report has not yet been completed."

On May 19, Cornell family attorney Kirk Pasich released a statement indicating the family believes there may be more to the story.

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"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."

In a statement of her own, Chris' wife, Vicky Cornell, said she could tell he was under the influence of drugs when she spoke to him after Soundgarden's final concert.

"When we spoke after the show, I noticed he was slurring his words; he was different," she explained. "When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him."

Before the show, she said, everything was normal. The two of them "discussed plans for a vacation over Memorial Day and other things we wanted to do."

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"What happened is inexplicable and I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details," Vicky told E! News in a statement. "I know that he loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life. The outpouring of love and support from his fans, friends and family means so much more to us than anyone can know."

She added that she is devastated by her husband's death.

"Chris's death is a loss that escapes words and has created an emptiness in my heart that will never be filled," she said. "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. He flew home for Mother's Day to spend time with our family. He flew out midday Wednesday, the day of the show, after spending time with the children."

Soundgarden was in the middle of a tour and had been slated to headline the Rock on the Range festival in Ohio on May 19. The event's organizers have since released a statement lamenting the singer's death.

"We are devastated to hear about the sudden passing of Chris Cornell last night," they said. "He was a true hero to music. The voice of a generation. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and the entire music community. The voice of an angel, now watching down on us as we celebrate and honor him all weekend long."

Sources: E! News (2) / Photo credit: Andreas Eldh/Flickr

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