Chris Cornell's family 'disturbed' by suicide reports, believes death may be drug-related
The family of rocker Chris Cornell is speaking out amid headlines claiming the Soundgarden singer "intentionally took his life" after an autopsy revealed Cornell hanged himself.
"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, an attorney for the Cornell family, told Fox News in a statement.
Pasich said Cornell had a prescription for the anti-anxiety drug Ativan, which he said has various side effects.
The musician was found dead in his Detroit hotel room Wednesday after performing at a concert.
The medical examiner in Detroit said Cornell hanged himself. Police told two Detroit newspapers the singer was found with a band around his neck.
Cornell's wife, Vicky, said she spoke to her husband after his Detroit performance, and he told her he may have taken "an extra Ativan or two" and was slurring his words.
"Chris’s death is a loss that escapes words and has created an emptiness in my heart that will never be filled," Vicky Cornell said. "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."
She concluded by thanking fans for their "outpouring of love and support."
Chris Cornell was a leader of the grunge movement with Seattle-based Soundgarden — with whom he gained critical and commercial acclaim — but also found success outside the band with other projects, including Audioslave, Temple of the Dog as well as solo albums.
In a 1994 Rolling Stone interview Cornell said he struggled with substance abuse issues.
“I went from being a daily drug user at 13 to having bad drug experiences and quitting drugs by the time I was 14 and then not having any friends until the time I was 16,” he revealed. “There was about two years where I was more or less agoraphobic and didn’t deal with anybody, didn’t talk to anybody, didn’t have any friends at all. All the friends that I had were still f--ked up with drugs and were people that I didn’t really have anything in common with.”
In 2012 he told the Mirror when Soundgarden split, he relapsed.
“It’s something that would have happened even if Soundgarden had stayed together. It was a long slow slide and then a long slow recovery, but there was self-discovery too,” Cornell recalled.
He said got clean after going to rehab.
“I came out of rehab and immediately went on tour with Audioslave, sold millions of records and was playing in front of crowds of 10,000 or 20,000."
He was widely respected in the music industry: He reached success in every band lineup he was part of it, his voice was memorable and powerful, and he was a skilled songwriter, even collaborating on a number of film soundtracks, including the James Bond theme song for 2006's "Casino Royale" and "The Keeper" from the film "Machine Gun Preacher," which earned Cornell a Golden Globe nomination.
Fox News' Diana Falzone and The Associated Press contributed this report.