Chris Cornell's family believes that if the singer took his life, he did not know what he was doing.
Cornell, 52, was found dead at his hotel room in Detroit the night of May 17th, after performing with Soundgarden at the Fox Theater. The Medical Examiner's Office in Wayne County, Michigan has ruled the death a suicide by hanging.
Cornell's wife Vicky Cornell released a statement in which she explains that she believes the death was an accident. She explains that when talking to him on the phone after the concert he was slurring his words and that "When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him." Ativan is a medication to treat anxiety which produces a calming effect.
"What happened is inexplicable and I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details," Vicky added in the statement. "I know that he loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life. The outpouring of love and support from his fans, friends and family means so much more to us than anyone can know."
The family of the singer are awaiting the toxicology reports to shed light into what happened to him. Kirk Pasich, an attorney for the family said the "family believes that if Chris took his life, he did not know what he was doing, and that drugs or other substances may have affected his actions."
In the meantime, more details are emerging about Cornell in his final hours when he gave his last performance.
"It was clear that something wasn't right," says Ashley Zlatopolsky, a reporter from freep.com who attended Cornell's final show, in an article. "He often staggered back and forth across the stage, and seemed weak in his movements. Just one or two songs in, it was as if the energy had exited his body, and what was left was a shell of a man scrambling to do his job."
Videos have been popping up across social media showing Cornell hanging his head down and shuffling his feet as he makes his way through the songs. Overall, he appears very disengaged. For Zlatopolsky, there were quite a few signs that something was wrong with the performer.
"Cornell was visibly agitated at times," Zlatopolsky elaborates. "He walked off the stage for several minutes before playing Been Away Too Long, causing the band to start over and leaving them playing instrumentals to fill the gap. When he came back onstage, he made a 'move it along' motion with his hand."
A photographer, Ken Settle, who was at the concert, mentions that "He'd always been, back in the early days especially, kind of a brooding performer, more introspective, sometimes looking down at his guitar most of the time with his hair in his face. At this show, it was the opposite of that."
Settle goes on to make a point of mentioning that Cornell said "I feel really sorry for the next city," which in retrospection seemed ominous. Additionally, Settle mentions that Cornell was performing unusually close to his bandmates, saying "He got right up to (lead guitarist) Kim Thayil, right in his face, while he was singing. It's been like pulling teeth getting a shot of them in the same frame, but that was different, too. And to me, these all seemed like positive things."
In an article discussing the singer's past, Natalie Finn comments about how no one saw his death coming, saying that "One of the reasons that so many people were unaware of what plagued him was that Cornell barely missed a beat as far as his musical output went."
This odd behavior has baffled fans. Cornell was said to have struggled with depression in his teenage years and alcohol addiction more recently. For Zlatopolsky, one final moment in particular at the concert stands out.
"But my mind thinks back to watching him onstage at the Fox, doing the refrain to In My Time of Dying, struggling so hard to send a message - perhaps a hidden goodbye that nobody saw coming," Zlatopolsky explains.
Our condolences continue to be with the Cornell family during this time.