Two weeks after being “hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details” about Chris Cornell’s death, the musician’s widow Vicky Cornell claims in a new statement that she is “mystified that the medical examiner announced a cause of death when the full autopsy report has not been completed.”
Kirk Pasich, Vicky Cornell’s attorney, claims that a Freedom of Information Act request for “reports relating to Chris Cornell’s death” was denied by the City of Detroit Law Department.
“Based on information provided by personnel from the City of Detroit Police Department (DPD) Homicide Section, it is our understanding that this matter is an open investigation,” Pasich claims the reply stated. “As such they believe that the release of any information at this time, including the records identified in your request, would compromise and/or interfere with their investigation.”
Last month, following the singer’s death at age 52, Vicky claimed that Cornell had taken anxiety medication Ativan the night he took his own life and questioned if the medication had contributed to his death.
“When we spoke after the show, I noticed he was slurring his words; he was different,” she wrote. “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.”
Pasich reiterated Vicky Cornell’s statement at the time, claiming that the release of a complete toxicology report was necessary for Cornell’s death to be fully investigated. “Without the results of toxicology tests, we do not know what was going on with Chris — or if any substances contributed to his demise,” he said. “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.”
In the new statement, Pasich asserts that Vicky Cornell had not viewed any police or toxicology reports pertaining to Cornell’s death. While the City of Detroit has declined to release the police report, citing an “open investigation,” a leaked copy, obtained by the Detroit News, notes that Cornell’s bodyguard Martin Kirsten said he accompanied the singer to his hotel room to help fix his computer and give him two Ativan “which victim takes for anxiety,” according to the report.
Soon after, Cornell and Vicky spoke on the phone, with the singer, according to the police report, slurring his words, admitting he may have taken too much Ativan and repeatedly saying “I am just tired” before abruptly hanging up. (Cornell disputed the police report’s claim regarding her husband’s last words to her on Twitter.)
Following that conversation, Vicky Cornell called Kirsten to check on her husband. After kicking open Cornell’s hotel door and bedroom door, Kirsten found Cornell “laying on the bathroom floor” with blood running down his mouth and a red exercise band around his neck. A doctor pronounced Cornell dead at 1:30 a.m.
Cornell penned an open letter to her husband last month following his death, writing, in part, “We had the time of our lives in the last decade and I’m sorry, my sweet love, that I did not see what happened to you that night. I’m sorry you were alone, and I know that was not you, my sweet Christopher. Your children know that too, so you can rest in peace.”
Detroit police have not revealed when Cornell’s toxicology report will be released. “We are grateful for the outpouring of support as we mourn Chris’ passing, but we still have several unanswered questions about what led to his death,” Vicky Cornell added in the new statement. “We believe the toxicology report will answer these questions.”
Full Statement by Cornell Family Attorney and Vicky Cornell
Kirk Pasich, attorney for the family of the late Chris Cornell, today said that the City of Detroit Law Department denied a request his firm made under the Freedom of Information Act for reports relating to Chris Cornell’s death, stating: “Based on information provided by personnel from the City of Detroit Police Department (DPD) Homicide Section, it is our understanding that this matter is an open investigation. As such they believe that the release of any information at this time, including the records identified in your request, would compromise and/or interfere with their investigation.”
Mr. Pasich confirmed the family has not yet seen any of the police or toxicology reports, noting that the family remains mystified that the medical examiner announced a cause of death when the full autopsy report has not been completed.
Given the information above, Mr. Pasich said that the family hopes there will be an end to speculation about the cause of Mr. Cornell’s death while the family awaits the definitive and complete reports. Vicky Cornell, the late star’s widow, said, “We are grateful for the outpouring of support as we mourn Chris’ passing, but we still have several unanswered questions about what led to his death. We believe the toxicology report will answer these questions.”
Chris Cornell’s most memorable moments: Soundgarden’s grunge classics, Audioslave’s hits and his poetic solo material. Watch here.