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Chris Cornell’s Family Is ‘Mystified’ by Medical Examiner’s Suicide Announcement, Still Has ‘Unanswered Questions’

Soundgarden singer’s widow says she hopes his toxicology report will shed more light on his death

Two weeks after Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell’s death, the musician’s family is still looking for answers about the circumstances surrounding his death — and is “mystified” that the medical examiner deemed Cornell’s demise a suicide so soon after his body was found.

In a statement issued Thursday, the Cornell family’s attorney, Kirk Pasich, said that the City of Detroit Law Department had denied a Freedom of Information Act request he made for reports relating to his death at age 52.

“Based on information provided by personnel from the City of Detroit Police Department (DPD) Homicide Section, it is our understanding that this matter is an open investigation. As such they believe that the release of any information at this time, including the records identified in your request, would compromise and/or interfere with their investigation,” the department said, according to Pasich.

Pasich also confirmed that Cornell’s family has not yet seen the police or toxicology reports relating to Cornell’s death, and “remains mystified” that the medical examiner announced a cause of death when the full autopsy report has not been completed.

In her own statement, Cornell’s widow Vicky said that the family still has “several unanswered questions,” which they believe the toxicology report will answer.

“We are grateful for the outpouring of support as we mourn Chris’ passing, but we still have several unanswered questions about what led to his death,” Vicky Cornell said. “We believe the toxicology report will answer these questions.”

Cornell’s body was found in his hotel room at the MGM Grand in Detroit, Michigan, shortly after Soundgarden’s May 17 performance at Detroit’s Fox Theatre. Shortly thereafter, the Wayne County medical examiner said that the rocker had died from suicide by hanging.

In a May 19 statement, Cornell’s family questioned whether his death by hanging was intentional and if “substances contributed to his demise.”

“Without the results of toxicology tests, we do not know what was going on with Chris,” Pasich said at the time. “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.”