The Family of Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell Challenges That He Took His Own Life

Family and Wife Issue Statements Questioning the Cause of Death

May 19, 2017
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Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell passed away Wednesday night in Detroit after the band's show at the Fox Theater. Cornell, who was only 52, was found unresponsive in his hotel room at the MGM Grand Detroit. As we posted yesterday, the Associated Press previously reported that Detroit police social media manager Dontae Freeman told the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News that Cornell committed suicide by hanging. Now Cornell's family, in particular his wife Vicky, are challenging that cause of death, suggesting that he may have taken too many doses of the anti-anxiety drug Ativan that he was prescribed and that may have affected his judgment, especially as side effects of the drug include suicidal thoughts.

The family statement says: "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. 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 continues with: "Some medical literature indicates that Ativan can cause paranoid or suicidal thoughts, slurred speech and impaired judgment."

Vicky has issued her own statement: "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 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.

"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."

Soundgarden formed in 1984 and were one of the three main pillars of the early 1990s Grunge movement in Seattle. Fueled by the Grammy winning hit singles "Black Hole Sun" and "Spoonman," 1994's Superunknown brought the band much commercial and critical success. The band broke up in 1997, but reunited in 2010. In between, starting in 2002, Cornell joined with some of the members of Rage Against the Machine to form Audioslave and released three albums with them. Below is the video for "Black Hole Sun."

(Via Pitchfork)

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