Chris Cornell: Drugs “did not contribute” to death

Chris Cornell
Chris Cornell

The coroner who carried out the autopsy and toxicology report on late Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell has found that “drugs did not contribute to the cause of death.”

Cornell was found dead in his Detroit hotel room last month, with the coroner’s office ruling his death as “suicide by hanging.”

However, that was questioned by Cornell’s family, who said the singer had a prescription for anxiety drug Ativan and that he may have taken a higher dosage than prescribed which could have affected his actions.

But Rolling Stone report that Wayne County assistant medical examiner Theodore Brown has reiterated that the cause of death was suicide and that drugs did not play a part.

In his post mortem report, Brown says: “It is my opinion that death was caused by hanging. Based on the circumstances surrounding this death and the autopsy findings, the manner of death is suicide.”

The toxicology report states that Cornell had a variety of prescription drugs in his system at the time of death, including Ativan along with “butalbital, pseudoephedrine and its metabolite norpseudoephedrine, caffeine, and naloxone” but they “did not contribute to the cause of death.”

The coroner noted that while the level of Ativan in Cornell’s blood was higher than average, it was lower that the 300 ng/ml levels of those whose death are linked to the drug.

Following the release of the autopsy and toxicology report, Cornell’s widow Vicky told Rolling Stone: “Many of us who know Chris well noticed that he wasn’t himself during his final hours and that something was very off.

“We have learned from this report that several substances were found in his system. After so many years of sobriety, this moment of terrible judgment seems to have completely impaired and altered his state of mind.”

She added: “Something clearly went terribly wrong and my children and I are heartbroken and are devastated that this moment can never be taken back.

“We very much appreciate all of the love we have received during this extremely difficult time and are dedicated to helping others in preventing this type of tragedy.”

Chris Cornell’s widow Vicky writes open letter to late singer

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.