Chris Cornell’s widow says prescription drugs may have played role in suicide death


The family of Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell issued a statement Friday questioning whether his death by hanging was intentional and if "substances contributed to his demise."

"Without the results of toxicology tests, we do not know what was going on with Chris," Kirk Pasich, an attorney for the Cornell family said. "Chris, a recovering addict, had a prescription for Ativan and may have taken more Ativan than recommended dosages. 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."

Pasich noted that some medical literature indicates that Ativan can cause paranoid or suicidal thoughts, slurred speech and impaired judgment.

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Chris Cornell through the years
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Chris Cornell through the years
UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01: Photo of Chris CORNELL and SOUNDGARDEN; Chris Cornell (Photo by Stuart Mostyn/Redferns)
NEW YORK - 19th JANUARY: Guitarist Chris Cornell of Soundgarden performs live on stage at the Ritz in New York City on January 19,1990. Cans of Budweiser beer are visible on the drum riser behind. (Photo by Ebet Roberts/Redferns)
UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01: Photo of Chris CORNELL and SOUNDGARDEN; Chris Cornell (Photo by Mick Hutson/Redferns)
LOS ANGELES - MARCH 1: (L-R) Musicians Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd of Soundgarden attend 37th Annual Grammy Awards on March 1, 1995 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Chris Cornell and Ben Shepherd of Soundgarden during RIP! Magazine Party in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
Reading Festival, Britain - 1995, Chris Cornell Of Sound Garden (Photo by Brian Rasic/Getty Images)
Chris Cornell of Soundgarden (Photo by Patti Ouderkirk/WireImage)
Kim Thayil, Chris Cornell and Ben Shepherd of Soundgarden with guest (2nd R) at MTV Rock the Vote '95 in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Chris Cornell of Audioslave during KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas Concert at Universal Amphitheater in Universal City, CA, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
Chris Cornell (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
American rock band Audioslave performs on stage, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, July 11, 2003. Pictured is singer Chris Cornell. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
AUSTRALIA - APRIL 26: Photo of AUDIOSLAVE; Chris Cornell / Audioslave, Melbourne Park, Melbourne Australia (Photo by Martin Philbey/Redferns)
Audioslave (Chris Cornell on vocals and Tom Morello on guitar) (Photo by Debra L Rothenberg/FilmMagic)
IRVINE, CA - AUGUST 16: Lead singer of Audioslave Chris Cornell performs on the main stage during the show at Lollapalooza at the Verizon Amphitheatre in Irvine, California August 16, 2003. Lollapalooza is a multi act festival that is touring the country. (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)
Chris Cornell and Tom Morello of Audioslave during Audioslave in Concert at Roseland in New York City - April 30, 2005 at Roseland in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
Chris Cornell and Tom Morello of Audioslave during Audioslave in Concert at Roseland in New York City - April 30, 2005 at Roseland in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
Chris Cornell of Audioslave during Audioslave in Concert at Roseland in New York City - April 30, 2005 at Roseland in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
Chris Cornell of Audioslave and his daughter Toni during Audioslave in Concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City - October 29, 2005 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
Chris Cornell of Audioslave during Audioslave in Concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City - October 29, 2005 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
Chris Cornell of Audioslave during Audioslave in Concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City - October 29, 2005 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
Chris Cornell during The John Varvatos 4th Annual Stuart House Charity Benefit - Inside at John Varvatos Boutique in Los Angeles, CA, United States. (Photo by J. Vespa/WireImage for John Varvatos)
Chris Cornell during The John Varvatos 4th Annual Stuart House Charity Benefit - Inside at John Varvatos Boutique in Los Angeles, CA, United States. (Photo by J. Vespa/WireImage for John Varvatos)
Chris Cornell and daughter during 5th Annual John Varvatos Stuart House Benefit Presented by Converse at John Varvatos Boutique in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by J.Sciulli/WireImage for John Varvatos)
Chris Cornell and Vicky Cornell (Photo by John Sciulli/WireImage for John Varvatos)
World Music Awards, Earls Court, London, Britain - 15 Nov 2006, Chris Cornell And Wife Vicky Karayiannis (Photo by Brian Rasic/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 24: HYDE PARK Photo of Chris CORNELL, performing live onstage (Photo by Neil Lupin/Redferns)
STUDIO CITY, CA - JUNE 09: Musician Chris Cornell and wife Vicky Karayiannis arrives to the taping of Spike TV's First Annual 'Guys Choice' at Radford Studios on June 9, 2007 in Studio City, California. Spike TV?s ?Guys Choice? premieres June 13, 2007 at 10:00pm ET/PT. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 3439 -- Pictured: Musical guest Chris Cornell performs on September 19, 2007 (Photo by Margaret Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 3439 -- Pictured: (l-r) Musical guest Chris Cornell, host Jay Leno, actress Ali Larter and actor/comedian Dane Cook on September 19, 2007 (Photo by Margaret Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Singer Chris Cornell performs in concert at the Pacific Amphitheatre at the Orange County Fair on August 5, 2007 in Costa Mesa, California. (Photo by Barry King/WireImage)
WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 07: Musician Chris Cornell arrives with daughter Toni at the Kennedy Center for the Kennedy Center Honors on December 7, 2008 in Washington, DC. In its 31st year, the Kennedy Center Honors recognizes honorees for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
Chris Cornell performs live in concert during the Projekt Revolution Tour at the Verizon Wireless Music Center on August 17, 2008 in Noblesville,Indiana (Photo by Joey Foley/FilmMagic)
WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 07: Musician Chris Cornell arrives at the Kennedy Center for the Kennedy Center Honors on December 7, 2008 in Washington, DC. In its 31st year, the Kennedy Center Honors recognizes honorees for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 03: Musician Chris Cornell performs onstage at The Wiltern on May 3, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
LANDGRAAF, NETHERLANDS - MAY 30: Chris Cornell performs live on day one of the 40th Pinkpop Festival at Megaland on May 30, 2009 in Landgraaf, Netherlands. (Photo by Mark Venema/Getty Images)
LAST CALL WITH CARSON DALY -- Episode 992 -- Airdate 03/25/2009 -- Pictured: Musical guest Chris Cornell performs on March 25, 2009 -- Photo by: Stacie McChesney/NBCU Photo Bank
CHICAGO - AUGUST 08: Musician/vocalist Chris Cornell of Soundgarden performs in concert during the 2010 Lollapalooza festival in Grant Park on August 8, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 11: Musician/actor Chris Cornell and wife Vicky Karayiannis arrive at the premiere of 'Machine Gun Preacher' at Roy Thomson Hall during the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2011 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 11: Director Marc Forster (L) and musician Chris Cornell arrive at the 'Machine Gun Preacher' premiere during the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 11, 2011 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 22: Chris Cornell of Soundgarden performs at the Forum on July 22, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 13: Musician Chris Cornell and guest attend the 'Machine Gun Preacher' premiere at The Museum of Modern Art on September 13, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
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Vicky Cornell added, "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. He was my best friend. His world revolved around his family first and of course, his music, second. He flew home for Mother's Day to spend time with our family. He flew out mid-day Wednesday, the day of the show, after spending time with the children. When we spoke before the show, we discussed plans for a vacation over Memorial Day and other things we wanted to do. 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." Ms. Cornell continued: "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." Ms. Cornell concluded, "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."

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