Cornell passed away on Wednesday evening (May 17). He was found dead in his hotel room shortly after performing with Soundgarden in Detroit. He was 52. Yesterday (May 18), a medical examiner determined that Cornell committed suicide by hanging.
In a newly-release statement released via attorney Kirk Pasich, Cornell’s family says they believe 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.” The statement adds: “Without the results of toxicology tests, we do not know what was going on with Chris – or if any substances contributed to his demise.” The statement also cites the side effects of anxiety medication Ativan to include “paranoid or suicidal thoughts, slurred speech and impaired judgment”.
Cornell’s wife Vicky Cornell has also released a separate statement, suggesting that taking too much of his anxiety medication may have contributed to her husband’s suicide. “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,” Vicky wrote.
“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 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. 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.”
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“I love you, brother,” the tribute began. “Thank you for your friendship and your humor and your intellect and your singular and unmatched talent. It was a great honor to know you as a friend and as a band mate.”