Cornell did not want to die, says wife

WASHINGTON • The family of Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell is disputing the findings of the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office, which ruled that he died from suicide by hanging. His wife says she does not believe the singer meant to kill himself, suggesting anxiety drugs he was taking might have played a role in his death.

Cornell, 52, was found dead in the bathroom of his hotel room in Detroit, after the band played a concert in the city last Wednesday night.

Lawyers for the family issued a statement last Friday that read: "The family believes that if Chris took his life, he did not know what he was doing and that drugs or other substances may have affected his actions."

In her statement, Cornell's widow, Vicky, said that the singer, who had struggled with depression and substance abuse most of his life, but had sobered up a decade ago, was taking Ativan, a prescription drug for anxiety and insomnia. One listed side effect is that it may increase depression and cause impaired judgment.

She said he had acted normally earlier in the week, but seemed different when she spoke to him last Wednesday. "When we spoke before the show, we discussed plans for a vacation over Memorial Day and other things we wanted to do," she said, referring to the public holiday on May 29.

"When we spoke after the show, he was slurring his words. When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him," her statement read. "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."

WASHINGTON POST, REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 22, 2017, with the headline 'Cornell did not want to die, says wife'. Print Edition | Subscribe