STILL QUES­TIONS

Fam­ily dis­put­ing cause of death of Chris Cor­nell.

Cape Breton Post - - Weekend - DETROIT

Rock mu­si­cian Chris Cor­nell’s wife on Fri­day disputed “in­fer­ences” that the rocker killed him­self in a Detroit ho­tel room, say­ing he may have taken more of an an­tianx­i­ety drug than he was pre­scribed.

The Wayne County Med­i­cal Ex­am­iner’s Of­fice said Cor­nell - the lead singer in Soundgar­den and Au­dioslave - hanged him­self Wed­nes­day af­ter per­form­ing at a con­cert. But Cor­nell’s fam­ily said that with­out tox­i­col­ogy test re­sults com­pleted they don’t know what caused his death.

Vicky Cor­nell, Cor­nell’s wife, said that when she spoke to her hus­band af­ter the Detroit show, he told her he may have taken “an ex­tra Ati­van or two.” Ac­cord­ing to lawyer Kirk Pa­sich, the 52-year-old mu­si­cian had a pre­scrip­tion for the anti-anx­i­ety drug. Ati­van, a seda­tive, has side ef­fects that can in­clude drowsi­ness and dizzi­ness, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health.

“With­out the re­sults of tox­i­col­ogy tests, we do not know what was go­ing on with Chris - or if any sub­stances con­trib­uted to his demise,” Pa­sich said in a state­ment re­lease to The As­so­ci­ated Press. “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.”

Cor­nell has bat­tled ad­dic­tion prob­lems in the past. He told Rolling Stone in a 1994 in­ter­view that he started us­ing drugs at age 13, and was kicked out of school at 15.

“I went from be­ing a daily drug user at 13 to hav­ing bad drug ex­pe­ri­ences and quit­ting drugs by the time I was 14, and then not hav­ing any friends un­til the time I was 16,” he said. “There was about two years where I was more or less ago­ra­pho­bic and didn’t deal with any­body, didn’t talk to any­body, didn’t have any

friends at all.

“All the friends that I had were still (messed) up with drugs and were peo­ple that I didn’t re­ally have any­thing in com­mon with.”

Vicky Cor­nell said her hus­band slurred his words when she spoke with him af­ter the Detroit show. She said “he was dif­fer­ent,” and she con­tacted se­cu­rity to check on him.

“What hap­pened is in­ex­pli­ca­ble, and I am hope­ful that fur­ther med­i­cal re­ports will pro­vide ad­di­tional de­tails,” she said. “I know that he loved our chil­dren and he would not hurt them by in­ten­tion­ally tak­ing his own life.”

The Wayne County Med­i­cal Ex­am­iner’s Of­fice said Thurs­day it com­pleted the pre­lim­i­nary au­topsy on Cor­nell, but that “a full au­topsy re­port has not yet been com­pleted.”

Cor­nell was a leader of the grunge move­ment with Seat­tle-based Soundgar­den - with whom he gained crit­i­cal and com­mer­cial ac­claim. He also found suc­cess out­side the band with other projects, in­clud­ing Au­dioslave, Tem­ple of the Dog, and solo al­bums. Soundgar­den’s cur­rent tour kicked off in late April and was planned to run through May 27.

Grief-stricken fans left flow­ers at me­mo­ri­als across Seat­tle on Thurs­day for the mu­si­cian whose force­ful, som­bre songs helped ce­ment the city’s place in rock his­tory.

One of the lo­ca­tions where peo­ple gath­ered was the Sound Gar­den art sculp­ture at a Seat­tle park, for which Soundgar­den was named.

“It’s re­ally sad that he could never find peace in his life,” said Chad White, who came to the art dis­play with his young son, Ig­natius, to hon­our Cor­nell.

The city’s Space Nee­dle went dark at 9 p.m. for an hour in trib­ute to Cor­nell.

Cor­nell was born and raised in the city and was part of a close-knit group of artists who formed the foun­da­tion of what would be­come the grunge scene that ex­ploded in the early 1990s, by com­bin­ing the bom­bast of early 1970s heavy metal with the ag­gres­sion and at­ti­tude of punk rock.

AP PHOTO

A woman wipes her eyes dur­ing a me­mo­rial for Chris Cor­nell on Thurs­day, in Seat­tle. Cor­nell, one of the most lauded and re­spected con­tem­po­rary lead singers in rock music with his bands Soundgar­den and Au­dioslave, hanged him­self Wed­nes­day in a Detroit ho­tel room, ac­cord­ing to the city’s med­i­cal ex­am­iner. He was 52.

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