Chris Cornell's wife, lawyer say Ativan use may have contributed to his death

"I know that he loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life," Vicky Cornell said in a statement.

By Karen Butler

May 19 (UPI) -- Chris Cornell's wife and lawyer said in a press release they are disturbed by a Michigan medical examiner's ruling that Cornell committed suicide this week, since toxicology tests have not yet been completed.

The 52-year-old Soundgarden rocker died in Detroit where his band performed Wednesday.


The Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office said in a statement: "The cause of death has been determined as hanging by suicide. A full autopsy report has not yet been completed."

"Without the results of toxicology tests, we do not know what was going on with Chris -- or if any substances contributed to his demise," Cornell family attorney Kirk Pasich argued in his own statement Friday. "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."

"Chris' death is a loss that escapes words and has created an emptiness in my heart that will never be filled," Vicky Cornell 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. 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."


Cornell also thanked her husband's friends and fans for their support during this difficult time.

The Cornells are the parents of a 12-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son. Chris also was the father of a 16-year-old daughter from his first marriage.

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