Vicky Cornell Opens Up About Chris Cornell’s Death – It’s Important to Talk About the Cause
Chris Cornell's death in May of 2017 came as a shock to everyone, but especially to his family. During an appearance last night (Sept. 15) on SiriusXM's Gayle King in the House, Vicky Cornell opened up about her husband's death, and why she thinks suicide needs to be discussed more.
It's been over five years since the musician died by suicide while on tour with Soundgarden in Detroit, Mich. His widow assured that she and her two children still talk about him every day as a way of keeping his memory alive, but noted that his death was entirely unexpected.
“Chris did not suffer suicidal ideation, and Chris was not even depressed. Chris was in recovery, and he had been on a benzo [benzodiazepine],” Cornell stated “But again, looking back, nothing even at that very moment felt like — it's impossible. It came from nowhere, and so it's a very traumatic kind of loss."
Various prescription drugs were found in the rocker's system during the toxicology report, but the medical examiners ruled that the levels were not high enough to have contributed to his death. However, Cornell still firmly believes that they played a part in the tragedy, especially because of how he was behaving following the concert, and she thinks it's important to try and figure out the cause.
"I do know the cause because I was on the phone with Chris, and he was in some sort of delirium the same night," she recalled. "He called me after the show and I could just hear he wasn't right. He sounded like he was high, and he was confused, his speech was slurred and there was just something that was extremely off and evidently off. And then just, I don’t know, thirty minutes later that was it.”
Cornell emphasized that knowing the cause of a loved one's death helps with accepting it.
“I think that our loved ones, especially when it comes to suicide, it can’t just be ‘Oh, they died by suicide. They look their own life.’ Okay, but why?" she continued. "What happened? How can we prevent? And I believe that’s a really big part of prevention, and helping us heal."
Part of Cornell's family's grieving process involved therapy and conversations with mental health and addiction specialists, and she stressed that there are no rules for healing from such a tragedy.
Listen to the full conversation below.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website. Resource information is provided for free as well as a chat message service. To speak directly to a professional, call 1-800-273-8255. You are not alone and help is available. Every life is important.