In a Wednesday, Feb. 21, interview with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, Chris Cornell’s widow, Vicky Cornell, broke her silence on the Soundgarden rocker’s May 2017 death. According to Vicky, Chris’ struggle with an addiction to painkillers led him to commit suicide.
Chris battled substance abuse throughout his adult life and even admitted in 2009 that he had entered rehab for an addiction to OxyContin. While speaking with Robin, Vicky revealed that in 2016, Chris was prescribed the painkiller benzodiazepine to help him sleep after a shoulder injury — which ultimately caused him to relapse.
"In retrospect I’ve learned it’s not supposed to be given to anyone who’s in recovery, and if you have to give it, they have to be closely monitored and it should not be given for more than two or three weeks," she said. "So he relapsed, and in a seven-day period he took 20-something pills, and in a nine-day period, 33."
Vicky — who married Chris in 2004 — continued, "He had really delayed speech, he was forgetful, there were moments where I thought there was some confusion. The brain of someone who has a substance use disorder is different from that of…someone who doesn’t. He relapsed."
On May 18, 2017, Chris was found dead in a hotel room following a Detroit concert. Though the singer had several prescription drugs in his system, the coroner said that "drugs did not contribute" to his death, which was later ruled a suicide by hanging. Vicky is convinced that drugs impaired Chris’ judgment, causing him to end his own life.
"He wanted to be there for his family, for his children. He loved his life," the mom-of-two — who shared daughter Toni, 13, and son Christopher, 12, with Chris — said. "He would never have ever left this world. I don’t think that he could make any decisions because of the level of impairment."
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).