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Chris Cornell’s widow gives first interview after his death
Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images
The widow of late Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell has given her first interview since the 52-year-old singer hung himself in the early morning hours of May 18th in a Detroit hotel room.
Speaking with People, Vicky Cornell said that it wasn’t depression that killed her husband, but prescription drugs, explaining, “My Chris was happy, loving, caring and warm. This was not a depressed man — it wasn’t like I missed that. What I missed were the signs of addiction.”
Vicky insists that her husband did not want to end his life, saying in the interview, “He didn’t want to die. If he was of sound mind, I know he wouldn’t have done this.”
The coroner ruled Chris’ death a suicide by hanging. Although several prescription drugs were in his system at the time of his death, the medical examiner determined that they did not play a role in his demise.
Chris struggled with substance addiction since his teen years, but had been sober since 2003 and, according to Vicky, had not relapsed since 2009.
The coroner’s report revealed that he had the sleep aid Ativan, a mild sedative called Butalbital found in migraine medication, a decongestant and caffeine in his system when he was found dead, along with an anti-opioid called Narcan that was administered by EMTs on the scene.
Vicky said that Chris was prescribed Ativan last year as a sleep aid but recently still seemed deprived of rest. She added that he did not seem like himself when they spoke for the last time by phone shortly before his death, saying “He was on a rant. I said, ‘You need to tell me what you took,’ and he just got mean. That wasn’t my Chris.”
In addition to Vicky, Chris is survived by three children: 12-year-old Toni, 11-year-old Christopher and 17-year-old Lily, the latter from a previous marriage. He was cremated and laid to rest on May 26th in Los Angeles.
Dr. Benjamin Nordstrom, an addiction psychiatrist at Phoenix House, told People, “It’s hard to overstate how unpredictable the effects of mixing various mind-altering substances can be. Some of these combinations, especially those that involve sedative drugs, can lead to levels of impairment that are far out of proportion to what would have happened if the drugs were taken separately. In addition, suicide is nearly impossible to predict for families and professionals alike.”
Check it out: Soundgarden in concert on May 21, 2013 at The Pageant