Chris Cornell's widow and his former bandmates in SOUNDGARDEN have paid tribute to the singer on the fifth anniversary of his death.
Chris was found hanged in his room at the MGM Grand Detroit hotel on May 18, 2017. His body was found soon after he had spoken with a "slurred" voice to his wife, Vicky, by phone. The death was ruled a suicide. But his family has questioned the medical examiner's ruling, saying that he had a prescription for Ativan and that a higher than recommended dosage may have caused him to experience suicidal thoughts.
In Vicky's statement, which was shared on Tuesday (May 17),she wrote: "5 years ago today, would be the worst day of our lives. It would be the last time Chris would hug & kiss us, the last time he'd walk out our front door. The last time he'd wave goodbye to us from the car. The last time we'd ever see him.
"5 years ago tonight, Chris would take the stage for the last time. It was his final show, his final performance- but nobody knew it at the time. I've seen the quote 'you never know when the last time will be the last time' and that rings way too true.
"If you told me before he went on the stage that fateful night, the night would end this way-I would never have believed you. Nobody who knew Chris would. In our lifetime everything has a last time- but in the moment, you never know it will be the last time- till you are looking back.
"Chris lived in the moment and took nothing for granted.
"We forget how fragile life is, how fluid relationships are and how things can change in a minute. Never miss an opportunity to tell somebody you love them- Chris told us every single day.
"To all of his fans - please know he loved you as much as you love him. He was so grateful to be able to make music, perform all over the world, have his music & lyrics touch your heart & impact your lives. He loved receiving love from all of you.
"There are not enough words to express our gratitude & appreciation -Chris always said he had the best fans & these past 5 years it's become more evident than ever. Thank you for loving him so much that through that love for Chris you have loved us too. You have helped us through the hardest of days & kept us going when we thought we couldn't. We are grateful for each & every one of you- it is true when he said 'it is the fans who make you who you are' and you are the support system he built who have been such a huge part of our healing. Thank you for stepping up in the darkest of times & thank you for helping keep Chris's memory and spirit alive- so keep playing it loud!
"And tonight in his honor, blast your favorite Cornell song and throw your love up in the air- #cornellforever
The surviving members of SOUNDGARDEN kept their tribute simple and short, writing: "Chris, Five years we have missed you. You have love. You have peace. You have eternity. Love and peace for all of SOUNDGARDEN's brothers and sisters. XOSG".
Vicky reportedly believes that her husband was not depressed and his death was not a suicide, but was instead brought on by the effect of the Ativan.
The toxicology report later said that Chris had the equivalent of four Ativan pills, as well as several other prescription drugs, in his system at the time of his death.
In 2018, SOUNDGARDEN guitarist Kim Thayil dismissed conspiracy theories that has surfaced since Chris committed suicide following a show in Detroit.
Thayil told the Detroit Free Press that he and other SOUNDGARDEN members were already en route to Columbus for the band's next date when they got word that Cornell had died back in his Detroit hotel room.
There had been no signs anything was particularly amiss that night, he said — "nothing that would have allowed us to anticipate what would happen."
"There were a few minor difficulties [early] in the show that I felt adjusted themselves within a few songs," Thayil said of Cornell's performance. "And then the rest of the show went pretty well."
Thayil also addressed what he called "cockamamie ideas floating around out there" — conspiracy theories that hit the web after Cornell's death, such as speculation the singer was murdered because he was about to expose a child sex ring allegedly associated with a Washington, D.C., pizza parlor some claimed was a front, although Washington police said that theory was "fictitious."
"The fact of the matter is there was nothing that would suggest this outcome," the guitarist said.
In May 2018, Vicky told The Detroit News that she did not agree with the coroner's ruling of suicide, which came just hours after the singer died from asphyxiation caused by a rubber exercise band tied around his neck.
"This has left me and my family still looking for answers, but at the same time, set off this whirlwind of conspiracies," Vicky told the paper. "Some of the people are just fans looking for answers, but some of them are conspiracy theorists who have said the most vile things to my children and me."
In 2017, Macomb County Medical Examiner Daniel Spitz, who was not involved in the case, told The Detroit News that sometimes people don't want to accept when people kill themselves — especially when the victim is famous.
"People have a problem with celebrities doing this because they're wealthy and have a lifestyle everyone wants," Spitz said. "They say, 'He couldn’t have killed himself; he's got fans and people love him.' But that doesn't change what's going on inside his head."