Chris Cornell's Widow Still Awaiting Autopsy Results to Resolve 'Unanswered Questions' About Singer's Death

Chris Cornell performs Soundgarden in 1996.
Paul Bergen/Redferns/Getty Images

Chris Cornell performs Soundgarden in 1996. 

Nearly two weeks after Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell was found dead in his Detroit hotel room of what officials deemed was a suicide, the singer's widow, Vicky, is still awaiting a more detailed account of what medical examiners discovered when investigating the 52-year-old rock icon's passing. 

In a statement released on Thursday (June 1) through family attorney Kirk Pasich, the family claims that it is still not clear on what may have caused Cornell to hang himself, a determination the city's coroner made less than 24 hours after the singer's body was found by his bodyguard on May 18. Pasich says that the City of Detroit Law Department has "denied a request his firm made under the Freedom of Information Act for reports relating to Chris Cornell’s death."

In their denial, Pasich said the department explained: "Based on information provided by personnel from the City of Detroit Police Department (DPD) Homicide Section, it is our understanding that this matter is an open investigation. As such they believe that the release of any information at this time, including the records identified in your request, would compromise and/or interfere with their investigation." At press time a spokesperson for the City of Detroit Law Department had not returned Billboard's request for comment.

Pasich said the family has yet to see any of the police or toxicology reports, adding that the family "remains mystified that the medical examiner announced a cause of death when the full autopsy report has not been completed." Considering that lack of information, Pasich said the family hopes there will be "an end to speculation about the cause of Mr. Cornell’s death while the family awaits the definitive and complete reports."

In a recreation of her final conversation with Cornell, the late singer's wife said her husband was slurring his words as they spoke around a half hour after he finished performing with Soundgarden at the Fox Theater. She said that Cornell was complaining about the sound mix at the show and how he blew out his voice and that at various points in the chat he said he was "really angry" and had taken two anti-anxiety pills. Vicky asked Chris what else he'd taken, since she sensed he took "something else." Cornell had a well-documented history of substance abuse and had entered rehab in 2002 to deal with his near-deadly addiction to prescription pain medication.

Vicky added that she appreciates the outpouring of support as they mourn her husband's passing, but "we still have several unanswered questions about what led to his death.  We believe the toxicology report will answer these questions."


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.