While we may never know what was going through the mind of late Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell before he took his life in a Detroit hotel room last week, Detroit Police have revealed some of the details of the rock icon’s final moments. A police report obtained by the Detroit News reveals that Cornell went to his hotel room shortly after the group concluded a concert at the Fox Theatre on Wednesday night (May 17), when his wife Vicky called to check up on him.
The conversation reportedly alarmed her, as Cornell, 52, was slurring his words and sounded groggy, repeatedly telling her, “I’m just tired.” The latter description also appeared in a statement from the family released on Friday (May 19), in which Vicky Cornell and the family’s attorney took issue with the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s conclusion that Cornell died after committing suicide by hanging.
Concerned about what she heard on the phone, Vicky Cornell reportedly asked the band’s bodyguard to go check on her husband, who had gone back to his room at the MGM Grand hotel 15 minutes after the reunited grunge band finished a show in front of 5,000 adoring fans around 11:15 p.m. Bodyguard Martin Kirsten worked on Cornell’s computer for a bit and gave him two doses of the prescription anti-anxiety medicine Ativan, according to the police report.
After the 11:35 p.m. call between Chris and Vicky Cornell, she called Kirsten around 12:15 a.m. expressing concern about her husband’s well-being. Kirsten walked two doors down to room 1136 and found the door locked and kicked it open, according to the police report, noting that he called hotel security from a phone in the hallway asking for help checking in on the singer.
“Security stated they can not let him into the room because he is not registered to that room,” the police report said. “At this time (Kirsten) kicked in the door with his feet and … went to the bedroom door and (the) latch had been engaged on this door also… (Kirsten) again called for security but could not gain access to (the) room.”
Encountering this second locked door — which led to the singer’s bedroom suite — Kirsten kicked that one open as well, finding Cornell on the bathroom floor with “blood running from his mouth and a red exercise band around (his) neck.” An MGM medic, Dawn Jones, was on the scene by 12:56 a.m., untied the band from around Cornell’s neck and began CPR on the singer, who was not breathing, according to the report.
A short time later, EMS Unit 42 arrived on the scene and an emergency medical technician also tried to perform CPR unsuccessfully. By 1:30 a.m., Cornell was pronounced dead by a doctor on the scene; homicide detectives also arrived to investigate while an officer called Vicky Cornell to report on her husband’s death. “Victim’s wife… stated victim is a recovering drug addict,” the report said.
Later that day, the medical examiner pronounced it a suicide. Vicky Cornell and family attorney Kirk Pasich released a statement disputing the results, saying they needed the results of a toxicology test to know for sure what happened to Cornell. “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 said in the statement.