The drugs in Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell’s system did not contribute to his cause of death, according to autopsy results.

Share story

DETROIT (AP) — Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell had drugs in his body, including an anti-anxiety medication, but they didn’t contribute to his death by hanging in a Detroit hotel room, according to autopsy reports released Friday.

The reports confirm that Cornell, 52, killed himself after a May 17 concert. A resistance band was around his neck, and the other end was attached to a clip over the top of the bathroom door, said Dr. Theodore Brown, assistant Wayne County medical examiner.

Toxicology tests showed the presence of barbiturates, caffeine and lorazepam, also known as Ativan, for relief of anxiety. The report also lists naloxone, an anti-opioid drug, and a decongestant.

Warning signs of suicide

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or have concerns about someone else who may be, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You will be routed to a local crisis center where professionals can talk you through a risk assessment and provide resources in your community. The more of the signs below that a person shows, the greater the risk of suicide.
  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious, agitated or recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings
Source: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

“These drugs did not contribute to the cause of death,” Brown said.

Cornell was found by a security guard who kicked in two locked doors at his hotel room on May 18.

Daryl Davies, a professor of clinical pharmacy at the USC School of Pharmacy, said the drugs are a “weird combination” of uppers and downers.

“When you mix that combination or cocktail, you can have drowsiness, you could be disoriented, but it seems like a stretch that you would hang yourself,” he said.

Cornell was a leading voice of the grunge movement in the 1990s. Besides Soundgarden, he scored hits with Temple of the Dog and Audioslave.

Vicky Cornell has said that she talked to her husband immediately after the Detroit show and he had indicated that he may have taken extra Ativan. She had hoped the toxicology report might provide some answers about what happened.

“Many of us who know Chris well noticed that he wasn’t himself during his final hours and that something was very off,” she said in a statement Friday.

“We have learned from this report that several substances were found in his system. After so many years of sobriety, this moment of terrible judgment seems to have completely impaired and altered his state of mind,” Vicky Cornell said.

___

AP reporter Sandy Cohen in Los Angeles contributed to this story.

___

Follow Ed White at http://twitter.com/edwhiteap