Chris Cornell’s family believes he did not ‘knowingly’ commit suicide, notes drug he was prescribed  5/19/2017 12:05:33 PM   Nicole Bitette

Chris Cornell's family is still trying to understand how the rocker could have taken his own life.

The Cornell family released a statement on Friday, noting that they are "disturbed" at reports the Soundgarden frontman, 52, "intentionally and knowingly" committed suicide.

The statement referenced an anxiety medication that Cornell was prescribed called Ativan that is listed as having side effects of suicidal thoughts and impaired judgment.

"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," an attorney for the family, Kirk Pasich, said in a statement.

Vicky Karayiannis, the singer's wife of more than 13 years, said her husband told her that he might take an extra Ativan "or two" when they spoke on the phone after the Wednesday night show.

She said she then called the front desk of Cornell's Detroit hotel for someone to check on him when she became concerned.

"I noticed he was slurring his words; he was different," Karayiannis said in a statement. "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."

Karayiannis continued by saying they still await the toxicology report to see if any substances played a factor.

"Chris's death is a loss that escapes words and has created an emptiness in my heart that will never be filled," his wife said. "His world revolved around his family first and of course, his music, second."

The couple shared two children, Toni, 12, and Christopher Nicholas, 11. Cornell also had another daughter, Lily Jean, with his first wife Susan Silver.

Cornell was found with a band around his neck on the bathroom floor of his Detroit hotel room around midnight on Thursday after playing a show in the city.

From left, Christopher Nicholas Cornell, Chris Cornell, Toni Cornell, and Vicky Karayiannis in April. Vicky said her husband was a devoted father and would not hurt his children “by intentionally taking his own life."
(Christopher Smith/Christopher Smith/Invision/AP)

Karayiannis said Cornell had just flown home for Mother's Day and then again on Wednesday to spend time with the children. The couple had also discussed upcoming plans for a vacation over Memorial Day Weekend.

The city's medical examiner confirmed his death was suicide by hanging.

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