A tribute to singer Chris Cornell is shown on a video display at Safeco Field in Seattle before a baseball game between the Seattle Mariners and the Chicago White Sox, Thursday, May 18, 2017. Cornell, who was born and raised in Seattle and was part of the group of artists who formed the grunge scene, died Wednesday in Detroit, following a performance of his band, Soundgarden. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Family of musician Chris Cornell disputes he killed himself

DETROIT — Rock musician Chris Cornell’s wife on Friday disputed “inferences” that the rocker killed himself in a Detroit hotel room, saying he may have taken more of an anti-anxiety drug than he was prescribed.

The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office said Cornell — the lead singer in Soundgarden and Audioslave — hanged himself early Thursday morning after performing at a concert Wednesday night. But Cornell’s family said that without toxicology test results completed they don’t know what caused his death.

On Friday, an official said the results of a full autopsy and toxicology tests could take days before they are completed and released.

Cornell, 52, was found unresponsive in his hotel room hours after he performed at a Soundgarden concert. According to the Detroit News, a police report says Cornell’s bodyguard gave him two prescription pills for anxiety after the concert. The bodyguard later found Cornell on the bathroom floor of his room with an exercise band around his neck, the newspaper reported.

The newspaper said it obtained the police report but doesn’t say how.

Vicky Cornell, Cornell’s wife, said that when she spoke to her husband after the Detroit show, he told her he may have taken “an extra Ativan or two.” According to lawyer Kirk Pasich, the musician had a prescription for the anti-anxiety drug. Ativan, a sedative, has side effects that can include drowsiness and dizziness, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“Without the results of toxicology tests, we do not know what was going on with Chris — or if any substances contributed to his demise,” Pasich said in a statement released to The Associated Press. “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.”

Cornell has battled addiction problems in the past. He told Rolling Stone in a 1994 interview that he started using drugs at age 13, and was kicked out of school at 15.

“I went from being a daily drug user at 13 to having bad drug experiences and quitting drugs by the time I was 14, and then not having any friends until the time I was 16,” he said. “There was about two years where I was more or less agoraphobic and didn’t deal with anybody, didn’t talk to anybody, didn’t have any friends at all.

“All the friends that I had were still (messed) up with drugs and were people that I didn’t really have anything in common with.”

Vicky Cornell said her husband slurred his words when she spoke with him after the Detroit show. She said “he was different,” and she contacted security to check on him.

“What happened is inexplicable, and I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details,” she said. “I know that he loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life.”

Cornell was a leader of the grunge movement with Seattle-based Soundgarden — with whom he gained critical and commercial acclaim. He also found success outside the band with other projects, including Audioslave, Temple of the Dog, and solo albums. Soundgarden’s current tour kicked off in late April and was planned to run through May 27.

Grief-stricken fans left flowers at memorials across Seattle on Thursday for the musician whose forceful, sombre songs helped cement the city’s place in rock history.

One of the locations where people gathered was the Sound Garden art sculpture at a Seattle park, for which Soundgarden was named.

“It’s really sad that he could never find peace in his life,” said Chad White, who came to the art display with his young son, Ignatius, to honour Cornell.

The city’s Space Needle went dark at 9 p.m. for an hour in tribute to Cornell.

Cornell was born and raised in the city and was part of a close-knit group of artists who formed the foundation of what would become the grunge scene that exploded in the early 1990s, by combining the bombast of early 1970s heavy metal with the aggression and attitude of punk rock.

Just Posted

Fog advisory in place for Central Alberta

Near-zero visibility possible

Art Battle Red Deer to support Women of Excellence Awards

Art Battle Red Deer will be April 6 at the Radisson Hotel

Eliminating racial discrimination events in Red Deer this week

Two upcoming events aim to inspire change and eliminate racial discrimination in… Continue reading

Outfitter facing Wildlife Act charges

It is alleged archery-only hunting licences used out of season

Sunnybrook pies in demand

Just in time for Easter

WATCH: Red Deerians can have a say about crime fighting

Municipality will poll citizens about policing priorities

Austin bombing suspect blows himself up as SWAT moves in

ROUND ROCK, Texas — The suspect in the deadly bombings that terrorized… Continue reading

Liberal firearms bill attacked by both gun owners and shooting victims

OTTAWA — The federal government tabled a proposed new bill Tuesday to… Continue reading

No opting out: Canadians to get emergency alerts on their phones soon

TORONTO — Canada’s wireless providers are preparing for a looming update to… Continue reading

Union leader says Alberta EMS system ‘broken’, not enough paramedics, ambulances

CALGARY — A union leader says government data shows Alberta does not… Continue reading

21-year-old charged with drug trafficking in Rocky Mountain House

RCMP seized drugs after conducting a traffic stop and charged a 21-year-old… Continue reading

Liberal bill would tighten controls on sale, licensing of firearms

OTTAWA — Gun retailers would be required to keep records of firearms… Continue reading

Alberta factoring in Trans Mountain pipeline in budget forecasts

EDMONTON — Finance Minister Joe Ceci says Alberta will rely on anticipated… Continue reading

Pooches and pickup truck stolen in Edmonton found in Rimbey

Two old English bulldogs named Rocky and Jersey who were in a… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month