Vicky Cornell Honors Late Husband Chris on Fifth Anniversary Since His Death: 'Forever and Ever'

The Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman died on May 18, 2017

Chris Cornell and Vicky Karayiannis
Chris and Vicky Cornell. Photo: Tara Ziemba/Getty

Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell's wife is honoring his legacy on the fifth anniversary of his shocking and unexpected death at age 52.

His widowed wife Vicky, 42, shared a lengthy heartfelt message on Instagram Wednesday to mark the anniversary, writing, "5 years ago today, would be the worst day of our lives."

"It would be the last time Chris would hug & kiss us, the last time he'd walk out our front door. The last time he'd wave goodbye to us from the car. The last time we'd ever see him," she wrote. "5 years ago tonight, Chris would take the stage for the last time. It was his final show, his final performance- but nobody knew it at the time."

She continued, "I've seen the quote 'you never know when the last time will be the last time' and that rings way too true. If you told me before he went on the stage that fateful night, the night would end this way-I would never have believed you. Nobody who knew Chris would. In our lifetime everything has a last time- but in the moment, you never know it will be the last time- till you are looking back."

She later went on to thank his fans for "loving him so much" and concluded the message by asking his listeners to "blast your favorite Cornell song and throw your love up in the air."

In a separate post, Vicky shared a heartbreaking video of Chris. In its caption, she wrote that she missed him more than ever — and if he were alive, he would be so proud watching their kids grow up.

"It's 4am and I'm wide awake thinking of the day I lost you, we lost you, the world lost you- its hard to believe it's been 5 years. I can't help but reflect back on the 14 years we spent together. It was truly magical and like a fairytale-almost too good to be true. I truly felt like the luckiest woman alive to be on the receiving end of your unconditional, eternal love."

She also wrote that he gave her his "whole heart" and being in his presence was the "best gift of all."

"Your love for life was rare and you were larger than life," read the caption.

"Everything about you was infectious- Your energy could command a room the minute you walked in it with your big smile, soulful wisdom and wit. You were and still are the love of my life, my partner, my better half, my soulmate, my best friend, my safe place, my home. You were my EVERYTHING…and you still are. You'd be so proud of our babies- Toni is 17 and following in your footsteps," she continued.

"You taught her well and just like her daddy- she has a way with words and is wise beyond her years. I see you in her every single day. Christopher just turned 16 and just like you were-he is the consummate gentleman. He walks like you, sits like you and has your humor and wit. He takes care of Toni and I the way you did. You led by example and boy does he emulate that."

She concluded, "You were our rock, our world- and no matter how many years pass for us- it was and will always be you. We love you more than anyones loved anyone in the history of loving…Forever and ever…all the time."

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Cornell died on May 18, 2017. In addition to Vicky, he is survived by daughters Lily, 21, and Toni, 17, and Christopher, 16. Toni also shared a series of photos of her late father on Instagram to mark the anniversary.

The family continues to keep his memory alive through different projects, including podcasts and music releases.

Elder daughter Lily launched her Mind Wide Open IGTV show in May 2020, while younger daughter Toni premiered her Stop the Stigma podcast in October 2020.

"My father suffered from a disease that runs in our family; both his parents were alcoholics," she told PEOPLE at the time. "The most important thing we can do is know what it is and share our story, so that my brother and I can understand why it happened and prevent others from suffering the same way."

"My dad should still be here," she added. "No one should have to go through this pain and loss. We can make a change by stopping the stigma and following the science."

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