Following Chris Cornell’s sudden and unexpected suicide, the rock singer’s wife has issued a statement suggesting an overdose of anxiety medication prompted his suicidal actions.
“When we spoke after the show [Cornell performed hours before his death], I noticed he was slurring his words; he was different,” wrote Vicky Cornell according to Rolling Stone.
“When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him. What happened is inexplicable and I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details. I know that he loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life.”
Rolling Stone goes on to cite the Cornell family’s lawyer, who said they are “disturbed at inferences that Chris knowingly and intentionally took his life.”
“Chris, a recovering addict, had a prescription for Ativan and may have taken more Ativan than recommended dosages. 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.”
Pasich reportedly added that side effects of Ativan include “paranoid or suicidal thoughts, slurred speech, and impaired judgement,” symptoms that appear to explain the conversation Cornell had with his wife before taking his own life.
According to Health.com, “Ativan (and its generic version, lorazepam) is an extremely common drug.”
Millions of people receive prescriptions for it yearly, reports the outlet, citing Dr. Asher Simon.
Dr. Simon also reportedly stated that taking higher doses of Ativan, or combining it with alcohol or drugs, can be incredibly dangerous because of side effects like impaired judgement and slowed breathing.
Further, he reportedly added, “in someone who is already depressed and suicidal it can impair their judgement – and if someone is intent on killing themselves, it can lower their inhibition and make them more likely to act on their impulses.”
The Cornell family’s attorney Kirk Pasich reportedly stated that a full toxicology test will determine “what was going on with Chris” at the time of his death and whether or not Ativan truly played a role in it.
In the meantime, many have taken to the web to discuss the family’s claim concerning Ativan.