TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 11: Musician/actor Chris Cornell and wife Vicky Karayiannis arrive at the premiere of "Machine Gun Preacher" at Roy Thomson Hall during the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2011 in Toronto, Canada.

Chris Cornell‘s widow Vicky Cornell has given her first interview since his mid-May death, telling People magazine that despite a Detroit medical examiner’s ruling of suicide “he didn’t want to die. If he was of sound mind, I know he wouldn’t have done this…My Chris was happy, loving, caring and warm. This was not a depressed man — it wasn’t like I missed that. What I missed were the signs of addiction.”

Cornell had four prescription drugs in his system, including the anti-depressant Ativan that Vicky Cornell feels may have been responsible for his actions in May. She tells People that Cornell had been having trouble sleeping, which “was a sign something was off.” The night of his death, she said, Cornell turned off the lights in their home via his phone, which led her to call him in Detroit.

She reports that, “He was on a rant. I said, ‘You need to tell me what you took,’ and he just got mean. That wasn’t my Chris.” Vicky subsequently called Soundgarden‘s security team, which broke into his hotel room and found him in the bathroom.

She tells People that she plans to be an activist in helping to combat drug addiction in the wake of her husband’s death; “Addiction is a disease. That disease can take over you and has full power…I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure other children don’t have to cry like mine have cried.”

Vicky Cornell’s full interview appears in this week’s print edition of People, which hits newsstands on Friday (June 30).


Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.

Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock news blogger who's well-versed in etiquette and extraordinarily nice. #TransRightsAreHumanRights