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Chris Cornell’s Family Disputes Suicide Claims, Think Cornell May Have Been on Drugs

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The family of Chris Cornell have disputed a Detroit medical examiner’s claim that the beloved singer hung himself. According to Pitchfork, in a statement released through their attorney, Cornell’s mourning loved ones assert 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. 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 statement also claims that Cornell may have taken a particularly high dosage of the anti-anxiety drug Ativan, for which he had a legal prescription, noting that “Some medical literature indicates that Ativan can cause paranoid or suicidal thoughts, slurred speech and impaired judgment.”

Additionally, Cornell’s widow, Vicky Karayiannis, has released her own statement, in which she says Cornell showed no signs of being suicidal — he was apparently planning a family vacation with her just hours before his death — but he was “slurring his words” and told his wife that “he may have taken an extra Ativan or two.”

Toxicology reports take four to six weeks to complete, so we won’t know if Karayiannis’ suspicions are correct or not for a while. In the meantime, you can read her entire statement below:

“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. 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.

“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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