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Chris Cornell’s Widow Says Prescription Drugs May Have Played Role in Suicide Death

Soundgarden frontman was found dead by hanging Wednesday in Detroit

The family of Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell issued a statement Friday questioning 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,” Kirk Pasich, an attorney for the Cornell family 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.”

Pasich noted that some medical literature indicates that Ativan can cause paranoid or suicidal thoughts, slurred speech and impaired judgment.

Cornell, 52, was found dead in a Detroit hotel room following a Soundgarden concert on Thursday. The cause of death was ruled suicide by hanging, a Wayne County, Michigan, medical examiner confirmed to TheWrap on Thursday.

In her own statement Friday, Cornell’s widow, Vicky Cornell, said she was blindsided by the news. “Chris’s death is a loss that escapes words and has created an emptiness in my heart that will never be filled. As everyone who knew him commented, Chris was a devoted father and husband. He was my best friend.  His world evolved 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 mid-day Wednesday, the day of the show, after spending time with the children,” she continued. “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.”

Vicky Cornell 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.”

She concluded with thanks for the public show of sympathy.
“The outpouring of love and support from his fans, friends and family means so much more to us than anyone can know,” she said.”Thank you for that, and for understanding how difficult this is for us.”