On May 18, the Soungarden and Audioslave frontman was found deceased in a Detroit hotel room after performing one final concert. The official coroner report ruled Cornell’s death to be a suicide by hanging, but Vicky Cornell believes that the result was more than depression.
“My Chris was happy, loving, caring and warm,” Cornell said in this month’s issue of People. “This was not a depressed man — it wasn’t like I missed that. What I missed were the signs of addiction.”
Chris Cornell’s previous struggles with addiction have been well documented, but he had been sober for years after, according to his wife. Shortly after his death, it was revealed that the singer had prescription drugs and an anti-anxiety medication in his system. Vicky is unsure how the medical examiner could so quickly rule the death a suicide without waiting for toxicology results or a full autopsy report.
She believes the drugs in his system significantly altered his state of mind.
“He didn’t want to die,” she said. “If he was of sound mind, I know he wouldn’t have done this.”
“Chris was humble, sweet, kind and good, with the patience of a saint,” Cornell continued. The family was reportedly looking forward to an upcoming trip to Disney World with their kids, Toni, 12, and Christopher, 11. Cornell was also a father to Lily, 17, from a previous marriage.
Because Cornell had been sober since 2009, Vicky Cornell is now left guessing if she missed the signs of a relapse.
“I relaxed, I guess,” she told the publication.
The rocker was prescribed the Ativan as a sleep aid last year though it left him feeling deprived of rest. His widow said that was a sign. Following the Detroit concert, Cornell reportedly woke his wife up by remotely turning the lights off and on in their home, using an app on his phone. Vicky Cornell said when she awoke, she called her husband.
“He was on a rant,” she said. “I said, ‘You need to tell me what you took,’ and he just got mean. That wasn’t my Chris.”
That’s when she decided to send Martin Kirsten, Cornell’s bodyguard, to check on him. After breaking down the doors, Kirsten found him slumped in the bathroom. He was later pronounced dead at the scene.
“Addiction is a disease,” Vicky Cornell said. “That disease can take over you and has full power. I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure other children don’t have to cry like mine have cried.”
Photo Credit: Alyssa Fried