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Chris Cornell’s Widow Vicky Recalls What Happened the Night of His Death: ”I Missed the Signs of Addiction”

Vicky Cornell does not blame suicide for taking her husband’s life.

Chris Cornell‘s widow sat down with People magazine and admitted she “missed” the signs of his addiction, noting she believes that is what caused his death on May 18.

The Soundgarden and Audioslave singer, 52, was found dead in his Detroit hotel room, which the coroner declared to be suicide by hanging. However, Vicky believes the prescription drugs that were found in his system that night—including the anti-anxiety medication Ativan—had altered his mental state and caused him to take his life.

“My Chris was happy, loving, caring and warm,” Vicky described her husband. “[He] was humble, sweet, kind and good, with the patience of saint…This was not a depressed man—it wasn’t like I missed that. What I missed were the signs of addiction.”

She said Chris struggled with substance abuse since he was a child, but he had been sober for years. In fact, she said the last time he relapsed was eight years ago in 2009.

However, Vicky admitted she missed clues that he was struggling again.

For example, he had been prescribed Ativan to help him with sleep, and yet he was often restless and sleep-deprived. “That was a sign something was off,” she said. 

On the night of his death, following his show at Detroit’s Fox Theater, he woke her up by using his smart phone to remotely turn on the lights in their home. Vicky said she was alarmed and called him.

“He was on a rant,” she recalled. “I said, ‘You need to tell me what you took,’ and he just got mean. That wasn’t my Chris.”

She talked to his bodyguard who informed her he had been taking double his Ativan dose, but when she called her husband back, he didn’t pick up.

The bodyguard had to break down two doors to get to Chris, who he found slumped over in the bathroom. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Addiction is a disease. That disease can take over you and has full power,” Vicky said, revealing that her goal moving forward is to help other people battling addiction in their families.

“I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure other children don’t have to cry like mine have cried.”

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