To call Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell's death yesterday a shock is a massive understatement, which was only amplified by the medical examiner's report that Cornell's death had been deemed a suicide. Now in a statement given to Pitchfork by the family via their own lawyer, the family is saying it "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," and that "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 family believes that Cornell may have taken too many of his prescription Ativan, which can "cause paranoid or suicidal thoughts, slurred speech and impaired judgment."
You can read the full statement below.
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.
We wish Cornell's children and his widow Vicky Karayiannis all the best in these horrible, trying times.