Chris Cornell’s Family Says Drugs, Not Suicide, Killed Soundgarden Singer

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Chris Cornell
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Late Thursday a coroner officially stated that Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell had committed suicide in the bathroom of his hotel room at Detroit’s MGM Grand. “The cause of death has been determined as suicide by hanging,” read a statement from the Medical Examiner’s office, though the autopsy report was not yet complete. 

Cornell’s family is anything but convinced that the 52-year-old took his own life. In a statement they said that until toxicology reports have been issued, it’s unclear exactly what led to the singer’s death. The culprit, according to Cornell’s wife Vicky, may have been the anti-anxiety medication Ativan. 

Here’s the entire statement, via Uproxx:

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.

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.

Regardless of the truth about how Cornell died, the mourning for the musician who fronted one of late grunge’s genre-defining bands has been universal. The Seattle Mariners held a moment of silence before their Thursday night game…

…And music and pop culture websites have been posting some of his most haunting work. 

One perfect example: in 2015 Maxim made note of Cornell’s spare, compelling cover of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U.” Numerous websites have posted it in the last 24 hours, and there’s a good reason—though he’s covering another performer’s hit, Cornell completely owned the song and made it new. 

Chris Cornell was an amazing songwriter, but he was also an immensely talented performing artist, and it’s worth re-posting this performance as a reminder.