Chris Cornell’s Widow: “Chris Didn’t Want to Die”

The death of Chris Cornell still stings, especially with all the unanswered questions. Why did he suddenly and impulsively decide to take his own life? It just doesn’t make sense.

As tough as it is for fans to come to terms with everything, imagine being his wife. Vicky Cornell granted an interview to People magazine where she tried to explain how she feels and what’s going through her head since this tragedy.

On May 18, Soundgarden and Audioslave singer Chris Cornell, 52, was found dead in his hotel room shortly after performing at Detroit’s famed Fox Theater. The coroner declared the cause of death to be suicide by hanging, but his wife of 13 years blames another killer. 

She welcomed PEOPLE into her home for this week’s issue, sharing beautiful memories of the life he had with her and their two kids Toni, 12, and Christopher, 11, as well as his daughter Lily, 17, from a previous marriage. But Vicky also opened up about the reason she feels he’s now gone.

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

Chris Cornell had struggled with substance abuse since childhood but had been sober for years, says his widow. But at the time of the singer’s death, prescription drugs were found in his system, including the anti-anxiety medication Ativan. She says for reasons that have never been explained to her, the medical examiner considered his death to be a suicide within hours—before toxicology results or full autopsy results, before the conclusion of the investigation into the circumstances of his death, and before considering the possibility that the drugs in his system, individually or collectively, altered his mental state (the coroner can only comment on immediate cause of death, not on what precipitated it).

For Vicky, it’s clear that a drug relapse drastically altered his state of mind on the last night of his life. “He didn’t want to die,” she says. “If he was of sound mind, I know he wouldn’t have done this.”

Read the whole interview here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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