A toxicology report of legendary musician Chris Cornell shows that he had numerous prescription drugs in his system when he died by suicide inside his Detroit hotel room last month.
The report, which was obtained by TMZ, found that Cornell had traces of Naloxone (Narcan), Butalbital (a sedative), Lorazepam (Ativan), Pseudoephedrine (decongestant) and barbiturates in his system prior to hanging himself.
The report also found that Cornell had “four needle puncture wounds on his left arm,” but that’s reportedly from emergency personnel giving him Narcan in an attempt to bring him back from a possible opiate overdose.
Cornell’s widow Vicky released a statement moments after the toxicology report was released, saying that after many years of being sober, he had a “moment of terrible judgement” that ultimately led to his death.
Many of us who know Chris well, noticed that he wasn’t himself during his final hours and that something was very off. We have learned from this report that several substances were found in his system. After so many years of sobriety, this moment of terrible judgement seems to have completely impaired and altered his state of mind. Something clearly went terribly wrong and my children and I are heartbroken and are devastated that this moment can never be taken back,” she said in a statement.
We very much appreciate all of the love we have received during this extremely difficult time and are dedicated to helping others in preventing this type of tragedy.
Cornell, the frontman of Soundgarden, was 52-years-old when he took his own life. He had just finished playing a sold-out show at the Fox Theatre in Detroit before going to his room at the MGM Grand, where he hung himself in the bathroom using an exercise band.
A police report obtained by The Detroit News said that Vicky had a conversation with him by telephone shortly after he played the show. In the conversation, she told police that her husband sounded groggy kept telling her, “I am just tired” before hanging up the phone.
Vicky said in a statement to authorities that in the conversation, which took place at around 11:35 p.m. on May 17, he told her that he may have taken “an extra Ativan or two.”
After that conversation, Vicky contacted her husband’s bodyguard, Martin Kirsten, to check on his well-being.
Kirsten went to room 1136 at the MGM Grand just after midnight May 18 to find the door latched shut. He contacted hotel security, who told him that they “can not let him into the room because he is not registered to it.”
Upon being denied entry, Kristen took matters into his own hands and kicked in the door, noticing that the second door that led to the suite was latched. Kirsten kicked through that door as well and found Cornell slumped over on the floor in the bathroom with “blood running from his mouth.” The report said that Kirsten noticed a “red exercise band” tied around his neck.
The elastic band is often attached to a carabiner and is commonly used for mountain climbers. It’s typically attached to a belt to keep climbers from falling, and is designed to withstand a heavy amount of weight. The band was reportedly attached to the carabiner and jammed into the top of the bathroom’s door. TMZ reported that the door was jammed so tight that it “left an indentation in the door frame.”
Officers from the Detroit Police Gaming Unit responded to the scene after Kirsten contacted them. The bodyguard told police that he was in Cornell’s room at around 11:30 p.m., just before he spoke with Vicky, fixing a computer for him. After doing so, Kirsten reportedly gave Cornell two pills of Ativan, which is used to treat anxiety. Side effects from Ativan include confusion, hostility, hallucinations, drowsiness, and insomnia.
A medic from the MGM arrived in the room at 12:56 a.m., untied the band from Cornell’s neck and started performing CPR on him. He wasn’t breathing at the time and was pronounced dead at 1:30 a.m. on May 18. Authorities contacted Vicky to tell her the unfortunate news.
Vicky and the Cornell family said that they still had “several unanswered questions” about his death and were anxiously awaiting to see the results of the toxicology report.
She said in a statement that she was “mystified that the medical examiner announced a cause of death when the full autopsy report has not been completed.”
“When we spoke after the show, I noticed he was slurring his words; he was different,” she wrote in her statement. “When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him. What happened is inexplicable and I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details. I know that he loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life.”
Cornell’s funeral was held May 26, and it was attended by hundreds of mourning fans, family and friends. He is buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.