ABC/Randy HolmesChris Cornell‘s widow Vicky Cornell discusses her late husband’s death in her first interview since the Soundgarden frontman was found dead in a Detroit hotel room the early morning of May 18.
“My Chris was happy, loving, caring and warm,” Vicky tells People. “This was not a depressed man — it wasn’t like I missed that. What I missed were the signs of addiction.”
Cornell’s cause of death was officially ruled suicide by hanging. A toxicology report revealed that he had a number of prescription drugs in his system, though it stated that those drugs “did not contribute to the cause of death.” However, Vicky believes that Cornell, a recovering addict, relapsed and was in an altered state of mind at the time of his death.
“He didn’t want to die,” she says. “If he was of sound mind, I know he wouldn’t have done this.” Vicky now wonders if she might’ve missed signs that Cornell, who hadn’t relapsed since 2009, was struggling again. “I relaxed, I guess,” she says.
The night of Cornell’s death, Vicky says Chris woke her up by remotely flashing the couple’s home lights using his phone. When she called him, Vicky says that Chris was “on a rant.”
“I said, ‘You need to tell me what you took,’ and he just got mean,” she says. “That wasn’t my Chris.” Vicky then called Cornell’s bodyguard, who told her the musician had taken double his usual dose of Ativan, a drug used to treat anxiety.
When she tried to call Chris again, he didn’t answer. His bodyguard then broke down the hotel room door, and when the EMTs arrived, Cornell was pronounced dead.
“Addiction is a disease,” says Vicky. “That disease can take over you and has full power.”
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