A lawyer representing the family of Chris Cornell released a statement expressing doubt that the former SOUNDGARDEN frontman intentionally killed himself, as a Wayne County medical examiner ruled yesterday.
"Without the results of toxicology tests, we do not know what was going on with Chris — or if any substances contributed to his demise," Kirk Pasich 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 noted that some medical literature indicates that Ativan can cause paranoid or suicidal thoughts, slurred speech and impaired judgment.
In a separate statement, Cornell's wife, Vicky Cornell said the medication may have played a role in his death.
"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."
Vicky Cornell continued: "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."
Vicky Cornell concluded: "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."
Chris Cornell was found dead in his hotel room after performing a show in Detroit with SOUNDGARDEN on Wednesday evening. Officials later concluded that he had hanged himself.
In addition to releasing four solo albums, Cornell fronted AUDIOSLAVE which he formed with RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE members Tim Commerford, Tom Morello and Brad Wilk. The supergroup released three studio albums before disbanding in 2007.
SOUNDGARDEN was set to headline Rock On The Range on Friday, May 19 in Columbus, Ohio.