Chris Cornell’s Wife Says Death was Likely Accidental

Chris Cornell’s wife has questioned the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s ruling that Cornell committed suicide following a Soundgarden concert in Detroit, MI on Wednesday night. The singer was found dead in his hotel room with a ‘red exercise band’ around his neck – the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office later ruled that Cornell had taken his own life by hanging himself.

Now his widow, Vicky Cornell, has released a statement through their family attorney (via Billboard), saying that Chris would not have knowingly and intentionally taken his own life.  The statement points to the medication Ativan as a possible culprit that spurred Cornell’s suicidal actions, stating that Chris had a prescription and may have taken a higher dosage than prescribed.

Following the concert, Vicky said she noticed Chris was slurring his words on the phone, saying “he was different” and that Chris even told her that “he may have taken an extra Ativan or two”, which prompted his wife to contact security. An excerpt from the statement says, “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.”

Ativan is a medication used to treat anxiety disorders, trouble sleeping and has also been used to treat alcohol withdrawal, and chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting. The medication can cause paranoia or suicidal thoughts and impair memory, judgment, and coordination. When combined with other substances, particularly alcohol, it can slow breathing and possibly lead to death.

The statement continued, “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.”

Vicky said that Chris flew home, over the weekend, to spend Mother’s Day with his family and then flew to Detroit on Wednesday afternoon for the concert. “When we spoke before the show, we discussed plans for a vacation over Memorial Day and other things we wanted to do,” she said. ”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.”

Chris and his daughter Toni sing ‘Redemption Song’ @ the Beacon Theatre in NY on 10/19/15

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