Widow Reveals When Chris Cornell Began Taking Ativan: ‘He Didn’t Want To Die’

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Vicky Cornell discussed her husband Chris Cornell’s death in a new People interview, again blaming his use of the prescription drug Ativan.

For Vicky, it’s clear that a drug relapse drastically altered his state of mind on the last night of his life. “He didn’t want to die,” she says. “If he was of sound mind, I know he wouldn’t have done this.”

Last year the grunge legend was prescribed Ativan as a sleep aid but recently still seemed deprived of rest. “That was a sign something was off,” says his wife. After his Detroit show, Chris woke her up by remotely turning their home lights on and off using the smart home system on his phone. Alarmed, Vicky called and, “He was on a rant,” she says. “I said, ‘You need to tell me what you took,’ and he just got mean. That wasn’t my Chris.”

She called his bodyguard Martin Kirsten, who told her the singer was taking double his Ativan dose. In a panic, she called the singer back, and when he didn’t pick up sent Kirsten to his hotel room. After breaking down two locked doors, the bodyguard found him slumped in a bathroom. He was pronounced dead when EMTs arrived.

“Addiction is a disease,” she says now. “That disease can take over you and has full power.” Now she’s focused on helping her children cope while trying to find a sense of normalcy. And she’s sharing her family’s pain for an important reason: “I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure other children don’t have to cry like mine have cried.”