Chris Cornell’s family has issued a statement questioning the coroner’s report that the singer intentionally took his own life on Thursday.
“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 Cornell family said.
The 52 year-old vocalist had a prescription for Ativan, the family shared, and may have taken a higher dosage that impaired his judgement. Attorney Kirk Pasich noted that Ativan can cause paranoid or suicidal thoughts and slurred speech.
Ativan is a tranquilizer and anti-anxiety medication that is sometimes used as a sleeping aid.
Cornell was a recovering addict and had allegedly been sober since 2002. His wife, Vicky, said in an emotional 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.”
She said Cornell flew home from Soundgarden’s tour the weekend before to spend time with his wife and children, before returning to the mid-west.
The Seattle rocker was found dead in his hotel bathroom at 12:05 a.m. ET on Thursday. Soundgarden had played a show just hours before at Detroit’s Fox Theater.
His death was ruled a suicide by hanging, the local medical examiner reported Thursday, but Cornell’s family called the suicide declarations “disturbing.”
“When we spoke after the show, I noticed he was slurring his words; he was different,” his wife added. “When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him.”
She added: “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.”