Chris Cornell’s Wife: ‘He Would Not Intentionally Take His Life’

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Chris Cornell and daughter, Toni, perform at NYC’s Beacon Theatre, Oct. 19, 2015

A day after Chris Cornell, the lead vocalist, primary songwriter and rhythm guitarist of Soundgarden, was found dead in his hotel room following a May 17 performance by the band in Detroit, his wife and an attorney for the Cornell family, issued statements today (May 19) that the family is disturbed at inferences that the performer knowingly and intentionally took his life, and that he may have suffered from impaired judgment. Hours after Cornell’s body was discovered, the Detroit Police Dept. stated that Cornell’s death was a suicide by hanging. Cornell’s wife, Vicky, said: “I know that he loved our children and would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life.”

Attorney Kirk Pasich said: “Without the results of toxicology tests, we do not know what was going on with Chris—or if any substances contributed to his demise. 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,” he stated. Pasich noted that some medical literature indicates that Ativan can cause paranoid or suicidal thoughts, slurred speech and impaired judgment.

Related: Cornell helped create a rock genre

Vicky Cornell (via her Twitter page)

Vicky Cornell added: “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 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 [Detroit] 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.”

Related: Jimmy Page, Elton John, Alice Cooper among the rock stars mourning Cornell

She added: “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.”

Prior to the show Cornell, 52, enthusiastically tweeted, “Finally back to Rock City!!!!”

Vicky Cornell continued: “The outpouring of love and support from his fans, friends and family means so much more to us than anyone can know. Thank you for that, and for understanding how difficult this is for us.”

Watch Chris Cornell and daughter Toni perform at New York City’s Beacon Theatre on October 19, 2015

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