It’s been a devastating 24 hours for fans of Soundgarden and Audioslave, as well as rock fans in general, with the tragic death of frontman Chris Cornell, one of the cornerstones in the Seattle grunge movement, where he was found hanged in a Detroit hotel room on Wednesday. While initial reports indicate suicide as the cause of death, it looks like more drama is in store for fans, friends and family.
A lawyer who is representing Cornell’s family released a statement today which casts doubt over the initial suicide report, which was initially ruled by a Wayne County medical examiner. “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 statement said.
“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.” Pasich also cites medical writing that suggests paranoia and suicidal thoughts are side effects of Ativan, which is taken to treat epilepsy or relieve anxiety.
It’s not just the family’s lawyer that feels this way, Cornell’s wife, Vicky Cornell, puts blame on the medication as well in her own 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. 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.”
After the show, however, Vicky noticed something was off about her husband. “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.”
While this story looks to only become more tragic, Cornell has secured a legacy in rock that few others can claim.
Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat