Chris Cornell’s family says the Soundgarden singer was taking a prescription anti-anxiety medicine, which may have played a role in his death in a Detroit hotel room after a concert Wednesday night.
The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office on Thursday ruled the 52-year-old rocker’s death as a suicide by hanging, but the family says he was on the prescription drug Ativan, which may have played a role.
Cornell’s wife, Vicky, said in a statement released by the family to the Associated Press that when she spoke to him on Wednesday after the group’s show at the Fox Theatre, he may have taken “an extra Ativan or two’’ and was slurring his words.
According to reports, Cornell’s wife became concerned and called a family friend who forced open the hotel room door at the MGM Grand Detroit and found Cornell unresponsive in the bathroom.
“What happened is inexplicable, and I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details,” Vicky Cornell said. “I know that he loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life.”
In a statement issued through attorney Kirk Pasich, the family said that until the toxicology tests are completed, they can’t be sure what led to the singer-songwriter’s death or if any substance was involved. Pasich told the AP that the anti-anxiety drug has various side effects.
PHOTOS | Chris Cornell dead at 52 (story continues below gallery)
Sgt. Adam Madera of the Detroit Police media relations department said Friday morning that the investigation was ongoing and that its findings wouldn’t be released until the medical examiner’s final report. Toxicology tests typically take several weeks to complete.
Lisa Croff, director of communications and media relations for the Wayne County Health Department, said, “They are doing their jobs and doing a thorough autopsy. They are doing their due diligence and doing their jobs properly, no matter what is going on in the media. This is a medical case for them. We have no information from them right now.’’
Cornell was widely regarded as one of his generation’s most formidable rock singers, a powerful and wide-ranged belter with a complex melodic sensibility to go atop Soundgarden’s dark, muscular sound.
The band was part of Seattle's famous grunge rock scene that included such bands as Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains.
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