Chris Cornell’s wife opens up about his death

Heading photo by Josh Jensen – Flickr: At the premiere of “Machine Gun Preacher”, directed by Marc Forster, during the Toronto International Film Festival, 2011.


In her first interview since Chris Cornell’s tragic death on May 18th, Vicky Cornell spoke about her husband’s longtime battle with addiction, and how prescription drugs factored into that fateful night.

On June 2, Cornell’s toxicology and autopsy report was released, where several drugs were found in his system including Naloxone (Narcan), Butalbital (sedative), Lorazepam (Ativan), Pseudophedrine (decongestant), and barbituates. Although multiple drugs were found in his system, Michigan’s Wayne County Medical Examiner determined that drugs did not contribute to his death, ruling it solely a suicide. However, in an interview with People, she talked about her doubts about her late husband’s death being ruled a suicide.

“My Chris was happy, loving, caring and warm. This was not a depressed man—it wasn’t like I missed that. What I missed were the signs of addiction,” she said.

That night, she was woken up by her home lights being turned on and off remotely by her husband. When she called him to see what was wrong, she noticed his slurred speech, something uncharacteristic of Cornell.

“He was on a rant. I said, ‘You need to tell me what you took,’ and he just got mean. That wasn’t my Chris,” she said.

She also believes that Cornell relapsed that night, noting the last time he did was in 2009 and that the drugs found in his system even altered his thinking preceding his death. “He didn’t want to die,” she said. “If he was of sound mind, I know he wouldn’t have done this.”

After experiencing the pain of his death, she is determined to help others in similar situations and raise awareness about addiction. “Addiction is a disease. That disease can take over you and has full power,” she said. “I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure other children don’t have to cry like mine have cried.”

The Mourning Dove While sitting in our family room the other day, my father, still reeling over the loss of his beloved son-in-law, saw a bird beyond the sliding doors pacing back and forth on the patio. At first, he didn't make much of it. The next day, however, the bird was still there, trying to flap its wings to take flight to no avail. He told my brother who, knowing how much Chris loved birds, gently gathered the bird and took it to a rescue facility on the west side. Once there, we were told the bird was a young mourning dove suffering from respiratory issues. We checked back a few days later and were told the bird is healing and will be released into a sanctuary once fully recovered. I am told the Mourning Dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, of peace and hope. I don't know if this is a sign from my sweet Christopher but it sure feels like one. VC Think on the cov'nant thou hast made, And all thy words of love; Nor let the birds of prey invade, And vex thy mourning dove. – from Psalm 74

A post shared by Chris Cornell (@chriscornellofficial) on

For more information about suicide prevention visit: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

For more information about addiction and treatment visit: AddictionResource.

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