Chris Cornell's Wife Points to Prescription Drug

Says he took higher than usual dose of Ativan before 'suicide'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2017 9:06 AM CDT
Chris Cornell's Wife Points to Prescription Drug
Chris Cornell, left, and Vicky Karayiannis arrive at the US premiere of "The Promise" in Los Angeles on April 12, 2017.   (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Despite a preliminary autopsy report claiming "suicide by hanging," Chris Cornell's wife says the rocker's death may have been accidental. Vicky Cornell says the Soundgarden frontman had a prescription for anti-anxiety medication Ativan, and told her "he may have taken an extra Ativan or two" when she spoke to him Wednesday after a sold-out concert at Detroit's Fox Theater. He "was slurring his words; he was different," she says, per Variety. The family's lawyer, Kirk Pasich, adds a higher than usual dose of Ativan, which is also used as a sleep aid and to treat drug withdrawal, could have led to slurred speech, impaired judgment, and paranoid or suicidal thoughts.

It was Vicky who asked security to check on Cornell after she spoke with him; he was found dead in his room at the MGM Grand Detroit at 12:05am. Police say he was discovered with "a band around his neck." But "I know that he loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life," says Vicky. Adds Pasich, "The family believes that if Chris took his life, he did not know what he was doing," per People. "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 Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office said Thursday that "a full autopsy report has not yet been completed," per the AP. (The final song Cornell sang was one about death.)

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