Chris Cornell’s family question coroner’s report

Chris Cornell
Chris Cornell

The family of Chris Cornell have questioned the conclusion by the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office that the singer died by suicide.

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

In a joint letter from the Cornell family lawyer Kirk Pasich and Cornell’s widow Vicky (via Billboard), they say they are “disturbed at inferences that Chris knowingly and intentionally took his life” as the toxicology results are not yet known.

Cornell’s family report that the Soundgarden frontman had a prescription for Ativan and may have taken a higher dosage than prescribed which could have affected his actions.

Ativan is used to treat anxiety disorders and side effects can include extreme drowsiness, confusion, muscle weakness and loss of balance or coordination.

Vicky Cornell says: “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.

“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 says that Cornell flew home to spend time with his family over the Mother’s Day weekend before reuniting with his Soundgarden bandmates on Wednesday afternoon.

She adds: “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.”

Tributes continue to pour in for Cornell from across the music world.

Celebrating the genius of Chris Cornell

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.