Chris Cornell's family thinks medication may have played part in suicide

"He was 'slurring his words; he was different,' his wife said.

May 19, 2017, 9:21 AM

— -- In a statement through their attorney, Chris Cornell's family does not believe the Soundgarden and Audioslave singer knew "what he was doing" when he took his own life earlier this week in Detroit.

"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," family attorney Kirk Pasich stated early Friday morning in a press release.

The family attorney couldn’t verify if the drug Cornell’s wife said the singer took was Ativan or its generic version, lorazepam.

The medications belong to the class of drugs called benzodiazepines. A review of research by the National Center for Biotechnology Information concluded that in the majority of studies in a controlled environment, the risks for attempting suicide went up for those using benzodiazepines like Ativan and lorazepam, coupled with a pre-existing condition of depression.

After news broke early Thursday of the rocker's death at the age of 52, the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office determined that "the "cause of death [was] hanging by suicide."

Cornell's wife Vicky added in the new statement that Chris spoke with her before his Detroit show on Wednesday night and "discussed plans for a vacation over Memorial Day and other things we wanted to do."

She said that later, after the show, he was "slurring his words; he was different," when she spoke to him. She said she wants to wait on the results of toxicology tests before drawing any conclusions.

"When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him," she said. "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."

Detroit police officer Jennifer Moreno told ABC News on Thursday that the singer was found at midnight in his hotel room at the MGM Grand in Detroit after being checked on by a family friend, as stated by Vicky Cornell.

"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," Vicky added. "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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