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Chris Cornell’s Survivors Suggest Prescription Medication May Have Contributed to His Death

Lyle A. Waisman, Getty Images
Lyle A. Waisman, Getty Images

In the wake of his shocking death, Chris Cornell‘s friends and loved ones are left searching for answers — and according to his wife and his attorney, prescription medication may have been a major factor.

As previously reported, the Soundgarden frontman was found in his hotel room after the band’s Detroit show on May 17, and officials later ruled his death a suicide. According to family attorney Kirk Pasich, Cornell’s survivors are now awaiting the results of a toxicology test to determine what may have been in his bloodstream when he died — specifically the amount of the anti-anxiety medication Ativan.

“Chris, a recovering addict, had a prescription for Ativan and may have taken more Ativan than recommended dosages,” Pasich told reporters. “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’s sentiments were echoed by Cornell’s widow Vicky, who underscored the singer’s devotion to his family in her own statement. “Chris’ death is a loss that escapes words and has created an emptiness in my heart that will never be filled,” she added. “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.”

Yet even in the midst of their domestic bliss, Vicky Cornell recalled sensing signs of trouble. As she revealed in the rest of her statement, Cornell’s behavior concerned her enough to seek extra help in an effort to ensure his safety.

“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,” she continued. “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 Sad History of Rock and Roll Suicides

Next: Revisiting Soundgarden's 'Badmotorfinger'

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