BILLY SHEEHAN Blames Pharmaceutical Industry For CHRIS CORNELL's Death: 'It's A Terrible, Unnecessary Loss'

June 7, 2017

Legendary bassist Billy Sheehan (THE WINERY DOGS, MR. BIG) says that the death of Chris Cornell was "a terrible, unnecessary loss" and he blames the U.S. pharmaceutical industry for the prescription drug abuse epidemic that is sweeping the nation.

Cornell's family said they believe that the side effects of the prescription drug Ativan — which can cause worsening depression and thoughts of self-harm in rare cases — may have influenced the singer to commit suicide last month after a SOUNDGARDEN concert in Detroit. The toxicology report appears to show Cornell had ingested four tablets prior to his death.

When asked by Metal Wani in a new interview what his reaction was to the news of Cornell's passing, Sheehan said (hear audio below): "I was quite angry about it, 'cause I do believe — and this is just one man's opinion — based on what I've seen in media… I believe his wife [was] bringing this up that the pharmaceutical situation in the world is so dreadful and so many people are dying because they mistakenly take two [pills], or they forget they took one and they take another one, or they forget to take it and they go into withdrawals.

"When you see a warning on a pharmaceutical that says, as a side effect, ideations of murder and suicide, I would think twice before… I just can't believe that stuff is on the market, and there's gotta be a better way," he continued. "I'm not sure what that better way is, but we've got an amazing world with a lot of intelligent people and incredible science, there's gotta be a better way than these particular substances, which are just so dangerous. You accidentally forget and have a drink on top of it and you could die. And more people die now from pharmaceutical drugs, taken according to the directions, prescribed lawfully and legally, than traffic accidents. An amazing statistic."

Sheehan added: "So I feel for [Chris's] family and friends and fans. It's a terrible, unnecessary loss. And I hope… The only good that can come out of it is people stepping back and saying, 'We've gotta do something about this.'"

Cornell had a number of prescription drugs in his system at the time of his death, according to a completed toxicology report released by Michigan's Wayne County Medical Examiner on June 2. But assistant medical examiner Theodore Brown wrote in his post mortem report that Cornell died from hanging and that "drugs did not contribute to the cause of death."

He added: "Based on the circumstances surrounding this death and the autopsy findings, the manner of death is suicide." The examiner noted that Cornell's injuries "were all consistent with hanging, partially suspended by the resistance exercise band."

The report revealed that Cornell had Naloxone a.k.a. Narcan, a sedative called Butalbital, Lorazepam a.k.a. Ativan, a decongestant called Pseudoephedrine and barbiturates in his system when he was found dead. He was 52.

He also had caffeine in his body from No-Doz tablets he had ingested prior to his death.

Cornell had four doses of the anxiety medication Ativan in his system. The medical examiner noted that while the level in his blood was higher than the average dosage, it was lower than the amount associated with those whose deaths have been tied to the drug, which can cause suicidal thoughts.

Reports that Cornell had needle marks on his left arm proved true — but the punctures were from EMTs who administered Narcan in an attempt to revive him.

In a statement issued following the release of the report, the singer's wife, Vicky Cornell, said: "Many of us who know Chris well, noticed that he wasn't himself during his final hours and that something was very off. 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. Something clearly went terribly wrong and my children and I are heartbroken and are devastated that this moment can never be taken back."

She added: "We very much appreciate all of the love we have received during this extremely difficult time and are dedicated to helping others in preventing this type of tragedy."

Vicky Cornell had previously questioned the medical examiner's conclusion that her husband committed suicide by hanging himself in a hotel room on May 18.

MR. BIG's ninth studio album, "Defying Gravity", will be released on July 7 via Frontiers Music Srl.

Find more on Billy sheehan
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).