Vicky Cornell, the widow of rock singer Chris Cornell, issued a statement Friday morning in which she speculated about the possibility of medication contributing to his decision to take his own life on May 17 at the age of 52.
“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.”
An attorney for the family also emphasized the belief that an extra dose of Ativan, a benzodiazepine often prescribed for anxiety, had led to the tragedy. He stated that the Cornell family is “disturbed at inferences that Chris knowingly and intentionally took his life.”
The attorney added:
“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.”
The former lead singer of Soundgarden is widely considered to be one of the greatest rock vocalists of all time.
If you’re unfamiliar, or just want to be blown away, check out this isolated vocal from his 1994 hit “Black Hole Sun.”