In a candid new interview with Vicky Cornell, the widow of late rocker Chris Cornell looked back on the heartbreaking night he passed away.
In May 2017, the Soundgarden frontman died by suicide at age 52. However, Vicky said the performer did not appear to be depressed or suicidal leading up to his death.
“This was like a tsunami. This was nothing. This was not on the radar. This was not like ‘Oh, we have to deal with this’ in any sort of way,” she told Gayle King during Thursday’s episode of SiriusXM’s “Gayle King in the House”. “Chris did not suffer suicidal ideation, and Chris was not even depressed. Chris was in recovery, and he had been on benzos. But again, looking back… It came from nowhere.”
For most of his life, Chris struggled with substance abuse and was open about it, but, prior to his death, Vicky said her husband had been sober for years.
However, at the time of his death, toxicology reports found prescription drugs in Chris’ system, but they did not play a part in his death. Afterwards, in a 2018 lawsuit, Chris’ family accused Dr. Robert Koblin of over-prescribing medication to the singer, claiming that the drugs caused him to behave erratically up until he died. A confidential settlement was reached in May 2021.
In Vicky’s interview with King, she highlighted the importance of focusing on the root cause that pushes a person to take their own life, in order to prevent future tragedies.
“With us, I do know the cause because I was on the phone with Chris, and he was in some sort of delirium the same night…,” she shared. “He called me after the show, and I could just hear he wasn’t right… He sounded like he was high, and he was confused. His speech was slurred. And there was just something that was extremely off… and then just, I don’t know, 30 minutes later, that was it.”
The publicist and mother of two children- daughter Toni, 17, and son Christopher, 16- whom she shares with Chris, went on to compliment the late musician’s parenting, noting that he was “such a present father.”
In 2004, Vicky married Chris, who was already a dad to daughter Lily, 22, with ex-wife Susan Silver.
Speaking of her family, Vicky added that going to therapy was part of their lives amid coping with their loss, which she noted still feels very fresh despite 5 years having passed.
“I even have friends who can’t believe that Chris’s clothing and everything is exactly as he left it, right in his closet,” she told King. “And that’s another thing where they feel like there are things that you have to do in order to move on. And so I just want to say, to people who are grieving and feel that sort of, you know — loss — that there really are no rules.”
As a means of coping, Vicky continues to keep the memory of Chris alive every day.
“I think it’s really important to allow us to talk about our loved ones. Allow us to talk about them every day,” she said. “And for me and my children, the most important thing has been to keep Chris alive in our home. So he is spoken about every single day. I love when people talk to me about Chris.”