'After So Many Years of Sobriety ... Something Went Terribly Wrong:' Chris Cornell's Widow Releases Emotional Statement

The Soundgarden singer's death on May 18 was declared a "suicide by hanging"

Chris Cornell‘s widow, Vicky Karayiannis Cornell, has issued a statement following the release of her late husband’s toxicology report, showing prescription drugs in his system at the time of his suicide.

“Many of us who know Chris well, noticed that he wasn’t himself during his final hours and that something was very off,” she 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.”

Audioslave's Chris Cornell Hosts Party at Marquee - September 14, 2006
Brian Ach/WireImage

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.

Karayiannis Cornell previously shared her belief that the prescription drug Ativan may have played a role in the tragedy. “I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details,” she said at the time. The toxicology report appears to show Cornell had ingested four tablets.

The Soundgarden and Audioslave singer was found found dead at MGM Grand Detroit after the band’s performance at Fox Theatre on May 18. He was 52. The Wayne County, Michigan medical examiner completed an autopsy, ruling the star’s death a suicide by hanging.

"The Promise" New York Screening

Following her husband’s death, Karayiannis Cornell revealed she had spoken to her husband after his performance at Detroit’s Fox Theatre. “When we spoke after the show, I noticed he was slurring his words; he was different. When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him.”

The couple, who married in 2004, had two children together: 12-year-old daughter Toni, and 11-year-old son Christopher. Cornell was also dad to daughter Lillian, 17 this month, from his previous marriage.

Longtime manager Ron Laffitte told CNN ahead of Cornell’s 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.”

Cornell was laid to rest Friday at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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