Chris Cornell‘s wife of 13 years has blamed addiction for her husband’s death, saying that he was “not a depressed man.”
On May 18, the SOUNGARDEN and AUDIOSLAVE frontman was found dead in a Detroit hotel room after performing one final concert with the former group. The corner ruled his cause of death to be suicide by hanging, but his wife thinks there’s more to the story.
“My Chris was happy, loving, caring and warm,” Vicky Cornell told People magazine. “This was not a depressed man — it wasn’t like I missed that. What I missed were the signs of addiction.”
Cornell previously struggled with addiction issues but had been sober for years, according to his wife. Shortly after his death, it was revealed that Cornell had prescription drugs and an anti-anxiety medication in his system. But assistant medical examiner Theodore Brown wrote in his post mortem report that Cornell died from hanging and that “drugs did not contribute to the cause of death.”
Vicky told People that she believes the drugs in his system significantly altered his state of mind.
“He didn’t want to die,” she said. “If he was of sound mind, I know he wouldn’t have done this.”
Addiction psychiatrist Dr. Benjamin Nordstrom told the magazine that it’s “hard to overstate how unpredictable the effects of mixing various mind-altering substances can be. Some of these combinations, especially those that involve sedative drugs, can lead to levels of impairment that are far out of proportion to what would have happened if the drugs were taken separately.”
In previous interviews, Vicky had said Chris seemed a bit short, confused and irritated during their final phone conversation on the night of his death. Normally, according to her, Chris was “humble, sweet, kind and good, with the patience of a saint.”
Even after Cornell received a prescription for the anti-anxiety drug Ativan last year — also used as a sleep aid in some cases — Vicky said he still seemed tired. “That was a sign something was off,” she told People. “Addiction is a disease. That disease can take over you and has full power.”
Chris was laid to rest on May 26 at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles.