Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell wasn’t acting like himself before he took his own life last month, and was “on a rant” while speaking to his wife on the phone prior to his suicide, according to Cornell’s widow, Vicky.
Vicky Cornell spoke with People, saying that Cornell, who was normally “humble, sweet, kind and good, with the patience of saint,” was acting like a very different person during their phone conversation prior to his suicide by hanging.
“This was not a depressed man — it wasn’t like I missed that,” Vicky Cornell said. “What I missed were the signs of addiction.”
According to Vicky Cornell, her husband, who had struggled with substance abuse for years, hadn’t relapsed since 2009, but “something was off” about him in the period leading up to his death.
The musician’s widow added that he became uncharacteristically “mean” in their phone conversation prior to his death.
“I said, ‘You need to tell me what you took,’ and he just got mean. That wasn’t my Chris,” Cornell said.
According to a statement issued by Cornell’s family shortly after his death, the musician had a prescription to Ativan, an anti-anxiey medication. The statement noted that some medical literature indicates that Ativan can cause paranoid or suicidal thoughts, slurred speech and impaired judgment.
Cornell was found dead in a Detroit hotel room following a Soundgarden concert on Thursday. The cause of death was ruled suicide by hanging.
In her own statement issued after Cornell’s death, Vicky Cornell said she was blindsided by the news. “Chris’s death is a loss that escapes words and has created an emptiness in my heart that will never be filled. As everyone who knew him commented, Chris was a devoted father and husband. He was my best friend. His world evolved around his family first and of course, his music, second. He flew home for Mother’s Day to spend time with our family.”