Just one day after her husband was found dead in a hotel room bathroom in Detroit, Vicky Karayiannis is breaking her silence about Chris Cornell’s suicide.
Cornell, 52, the frontman of both Soundgarden and Audioslave who was considered to be one of the early pioneers of grunge music, was found dead in the bathroom of his hotel room at the MGM Grand in Detroit Wednesday night, just hours after he had performed at the Fox Theatre. Early reports about his death indicated his wife had asked for a friend to check on the singer because she was worried about him, which was when his body was discovered.
Now, following a ruling by the medical examiner that Cornell’s unexpected death was officially a suicide, Karayiannis has spoken out about the situation, and claims her husband’s decision to take his own life was accidental, because she knows he wouldn’t intentionally leave her or their two children, Toni and Christopher.
“What happened is inexplicable and I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details,” she said in a statement (via E! News). “I know that he loved our children and he would not hurt them intentionally by 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.”
Karayiannis also expressed her sorrow over her husband’s death, and admitted that they had discussed more plans for the future beforehand, which reinforces her belief that his death was not intentional. She also confirmed that she had asked for someone to check on Cornell after she became concerned following a phone call after the show.
“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 midday Wednesday, the day of the show, after spending time with the children,” she said. “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.”
Cornell reportedly had a prescription for Ativan, which is used to treat seizure disorders like epilepsy and can be used to relieve anxiety as well. It comes with a warning that it can cause paranoid and suicidal thoughts, as well as impaired memory, judgment and coordination, and especially when combined with other substances, it can cause slow breathing and possibly lead to death.
A lawyer for the family also released a statement after Cornell’s death was ruled a suicide, mentioning the Ativan, but saying it couldn’t be confirmed if that substance or any others (Cornell had admitted in the past to heavy drug addictions) had contributed to his death.
“Without the results of toxicology tests, we do not know what was going on with Chris—or if any substances contributed to his demise. Chris, a recovering addict, had a prescription for Ativan and may have taken more Ativan than recommended dosages,” Kirk Pasich said. “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.”
No information regarding a funeral for the singer has been released.