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Chris Cornell’s family says prescription drug may have prompted apparent suicide

Buda Mendes/Getty Images(SEATTLE) — Chris Cornell’s wife doesn’t believe her husband intentionally took his own life, and feels the prescription drug Ativan may have played a role in his death.

A joint statement issued Friday by Vicky Cornell and family attorney Kirk Pasich — the first lengthy family statement since rock singer Cornell, 52, was found dead in his Detroit hotel room Wednesday night — notes that the Soundgarden frontman was “a recovering addict,” and “had a prescription for Ativan and may have taken more Ativan than recommended dosages.”

Ativan, the brand name for the medication lorazepam, has a number of therapeutic uses, but is commonly used for the treatment of anxiety.

“Without the results of toxicology tests, we do not know what was going on with Chris — or if any substances contributed to his demise,” says Pasich.

The statement goes on: “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.”

The Wayne County, MI, Medical Examiners Office on Thursday declared Cornell’s cause of death as suicide by hanging. 

Vicky Cornell says she and her husband spoke before his Wednesday night show in Detroit and “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.” 

She continues: “What happened is inexplicable and I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details.  I know that [Chris] loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life.”

The statement ends with Vicky Cornell saying, “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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