Vicky Cornell, wife of the late Chris Cornell, released a statement to multiple outlets Friday morning in which she recounted the events leading up to the singer’s death this week and argued that prescription pills played a role in his suicide.
“As everyone who knew him commented, Chris was a devoted father and husband,” she said. “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,” she continued. “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.”
But when the pair spoke on the phone after his show Wednesday at the Fox Theater in Detroit, she noticed something was off about the singer ― something fans at the show later said they noticed too.
“He was slurring his words; he was different,” Vicky said. “When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him.”
Security eventually forced open the door of Chris’ hotel room at the MGM Grand Casino, where they found him unreponsive on the floor of the bathroom Cornell. A medical examiner later determined that the singer’s cause of death was “suicide by hanging.”
“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,” Vicky said.
Cornell family attorney Kirk Pasich said in a separate statement Friday that they believe the extra Ativan, which can lead to suicidal thoughts, potentially caused Cornell to take his life.
“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 might’ve taken more than the recommended dosage.
“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 added.
Vicky also took the time in her statement to thank Chris’ fans for the kind words they have offered since the news of the Soundgarden singer’s death Thursday morning.
“Chris’s death is a loss that escapes words and has created an emptiness in my heart that will never be filled,” she said.
“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.”
If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HELLO to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.