Chris Cornell Toxicology Report Reveals Several Prescription Drugs in the Rocker's System
According to a report obtained by TMZ, Cornell had Naloxone (Narcan), Butalbital (a sedative), Lorazepam (Ativan), Pseudoephedrine (a decongestant) and barbiturates in his system at the time of death
According to a report obtained by TMZ, Cornell had Naloxone (Narcan), Butalbital (a sedative), Lorazepam (Ativan), Pseudoephedrine (a decongestant) and barbiturates in his system at the time of death. The Narcan, used to reverse opioid overdoses, was reportedly administered by EMTs arriving on scene.
The Soundgarden frontman was found dead of suicide by hanging at MGM Grand Detroit after the band’s performance at Fox Theatre on May 18. He was 52.
“Many of us who know Chris well, noticed that he wasn’t himself during his final hours and that something was very off,” wife Vicky Karayiannis Cornell said in a statement to PEOPLE.
“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 adds, “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.”
The Wayne County, Michigan medical examiner completed an autopsy, ruling the star’s death a suicide. However, Cornell’s family has stated that they didn’t believe him to be suicidal.
Cornell’s family said they believe that the side effects of the prescription drug Ativan – which can cause worsening depression and thoughts of self-harm in rare cases – may have impacted Cornell. The toxicology report appears to show Cornell had ingested four tablets.
“Chris, a recovering addict, had a prescription for Ativan and may have taken more Ativan than recommended dosages,” the family’s attorney Kirk Pasich said in a statement. “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.”
Pasich said that Cornell told Karayiannis Cornell that he had taken “an extra Ativan or two” before his death. In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, he also claimed that the City of Detroit Law Department denied his Freedom of Information Act request for reports relating to Cornell’s death. He further stated that the family is “mystified that the medical examiner announced a cause of death when the full autopsy report has not been completed.”
“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,” Karayiannis added in a June 1 statement. “We believe the toxicology report will answer these questions.”
Longtime manager Ron Laffitte told CNN ahead of the funeral, “Very often times people who are in recovery have a relapse or a slip. I think unfortunately what so often happens when a recovering addict has a slip is they return to a level where they left off as opposed to easing their way back in.”
“What was troubling him I don’t think we’ll ever know,” Morris said. “I think he was a little nervous about playing in Detroit, the music capital of the world, and he took a little too much of the Ativan.”
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Cornell was laid to rest May 26 at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The funeral service was private, but was followed by a public memorial later in the day.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).