Medical Examiner ‘Not Convinced’ Chris Cornell Committed Suicide


Dr. Werner Spitz, former chief medical examiner in Wayne and Macomb counties, reviewed Chris Cornell’s autopsy on Friday and and told the Detroit Free Press he was intrigued by the position of Cornell’s body, noting it was partially suspended.

Spitz said he was “not absolutely convinced” the suicide ruling is correct.

“In theory, it could be an accident,” he said late Friday.

Toxicology tests performed after the Soundgarden singer died May 18 in Detroit detected lorazepam, which is used in the treatment of anxiety and sold as Ativan; pseudoephedrine, a decongestant; naloxone, used to counter effects of opioids; butalbital, a sedative, and caffeine.

Spitz, who often weighs in on controversial cases, added that based on his reading of the report: “The way (Cornell) was found means he was able to regulate the pressure on his neck.”

The autopsy report said Cornell, who was 6-foot-3 and weighed 180 pounds, was in a torn gray T-shirt and black underwear.

Naloxone, one of the drugs present in Cornell’s system, is often given to resuscitate people with suspected opioid overdoses.

Spitz said it could have been administered when Cornell was found unresponsive.

  • Stone Gossardish

    Realizing this was more of an accident doesn’t make it all better, but it’s more like he got hit by a bus than he decided to end it all w/a clear head. It’s still awful, but that’s a bit better.

  • nomad

    I’m not sure what he is implying. Autoerotic asphyxiation accident? Plus I thought it was already established that the narcan was administered by the EMTs.

    • Gabi Sermoneta

      I guess he is implying accidental asphyxiation (or autoerotic ). In which case I believe he should have died from an heart attack .
      I hate this. This is the same garbage as “he had fresh marks on his arm” . And nobody apologies to the family when this type of “news” is just garbage. Who is this man? Do we need to know more? ( even what he was wearing!!)

  • Raj

    Even so a carabiner with an exercise band around his neck seems like a very odd exercise, I’ve never seen nor heard of any such exercise in which you put a band around your neck and hang from a carabiner. Usually the band would go around your head. How would his body position determine his ability to regulate the pressure on his neck?

  • Karmaniac

    Who actually asked this guy for his opinion? Did he “review the autopsy” just like anyone else on the internet? What does Sixx think?!

    • Allison Auld

      This guy loves publicity. He inserts himself into high-profile cases to see his name in the paper and probably for $$. He testified for Casey Anthony, for God’s sake. He’s a FORMER chief medical examiner. Not reliable.

  • QueenVee1

    I honestly believe it was an autoerotic asphyxiation accident. I feel he would have left a suicide note if he was truly in that much despair and pain that he wanted to take his own life. Listen to his music and lyrics–the man was a poet! He would want to explain he actions to his children like Kurt Cobain.


    OMG! What a nothing article. Why print something with no ‘real’ information.

    • Dan Guilfuchi