Monday, May 22, 2017

The Final Hours of Chris Cornell

It has been several days now since the death of Chris Cornell, although many of the questions surrounding his strange death by suicide remain unanswered. Less than one hour after the members of Soundgarden left the concert venue, Chris Cornell was found on the floor in the bathroom of his hotel room, bleeding from the mouth. He was pronounced dead within a couple of hours afterward, and the world had lost a music legend.

Everything seemed normal just hours before that. From what I heard on the radio, Cornell seemed actually rather upbeat before the concert, even sending out some messages through the social media. To my understanding, he seemed in a relatively good mood during the actual concert itself, as well. Some have speculated about the significance of the closing song that night, which was "Slaves and Bulldozers," but which also had a tag covering Led Zeppelin's "In my time of dying." But it seems unlikely that this was some kind of a call for help, or a message of some sort. Maybe I am wrong, but the significance that people placed on that, in particular, seems a little far-fetched. 

The band left the stage after what, for all intents and purposes, was a good show. Cornell was overheard by some fans saying that he looked forward to seeing them in Cleveland, where Soundgarden was scheduled to play next. That does not sound like someone who knows he will kill himself about one hour later.

His bodyguard, Martin Kirsten, accompanied Cornell to help fix the computer. He also gave him two Ativans for his anxiety, the drug that his family is now blaming for his suicide, claiming that he did not know fully what he was doing. He spoke to his wife on the phone, and according to her, his words were slurred, and he kept saying, "I am just tired" to her, before abruptly hanging up. 

After that, he apparently went into the bathroom, jammed a carabiner to the door, which made it difficult to open, and then hung himself with a red exercise band, ending his own life. 

Vicky Cornell, Chris's wife, asked Kirsten, the bodyguard, to check in on Cornell. The door was locked and closed, and Kirsten tried to force it open. He went down to the hotel management to explain the situation, but they refused to grant him entry. He returned and eventually kicked down the door, and discovered Cornell's body in the bathroom. 

All of these are apparently the facts surrounding this particular case, but it still leaves just so many questions unanswered. Was this premeditated, as some will surely suggest? Or is his family right, that Ativan is in large part to blame for his untimely death by suicide? If Cornell knew ahead of time, why was he in such an apparently good mood before and during the show itself, and telling his fans he would see them in Cleveland? Was there significance to that last song that Soundgarden played? Could Cornell have been saved had the bodyguard been able to access the room earlier, and just how much time was lost in between?

Maybe we will find out, or maybe we will not. One thing seems sure, this particular death of another Seattle "grunge" legend seemed completely out of left field, and took most of the world, myself included, completely by surprise. You maybe could argue that Cobain's death could have been predicted, or perhaps even Layne Staley's. But Cornell was a 52 year-old man, with a family. He had so many positive in his life, being wealthy, very intelligent, well-traveled,  and wildly successful. Why take his own life, and why in a Detroit hotel room, of all places, and while on tour with his band?

Perhaps no one knows right now. Frankly, the more we learn about what happened, the less clear it becomes as to why this tragedy actually happened. It is a strange situation, and again, I recall someone (don't remember who right now) saying that this suicide by Cornell kind of serves as a bookend to the more tragic and self-destructive aspects of the whole Seattle scene that became so popular in the nineties. 

Obviously, tributes have been pouring in, and more and more reports are shedding light on exactly what happened last week in Detroit. Thought it would be good to share some of the articles that I took notice of, with several different angles, which I tried to organize below:

Details on Cornell's Death:

Chris Cornell’s Final Words To Fans Less Than An Hour Before Death Revealed By Brett Buchanan -  May 19, 2017:

Chris Cornell: Police Report Details Singer's Final Hours by Daniel Kreps, May 19, 2017:

Police Report: CHRIS CORNELL Used Red Exercise Band To Kill Himself by Blabbermouth, May 19, 2017:


Mourning Chris Cornell: 'Part of Seattle died today' by Stephen Cohen, May 18, 2017:

Chris Cornell: When Suicide Doesn’t Make Sense by Julie A. Fast, May 19, 2017:

Say Hello 2 Heaven: An Open Letter To Chris Cornell by Lauryn Schaffner -  May 20, 2017:

After Chris Cornell’s death: ‘Only Eddie Vedder is left. Let that sink in.’  by Travis M. Andrews May 19, 2017:

Chris Cornell Defends Man Being Bullied at Seattle Airport by Amy Sciarretto, February 17, 2012:

Cornell's Music:

The secret meaning behind Chris Cornell's Soundgarden song "Black Hole Sun" by Tom Barnes, May 18, 2017:

Chris Cornell.Avett Bros Footsteps PJ Week 10.22.13 from Dave Wallace, 2014:

Prior to Chris Cornell's Death, Kim Thayil Gave Update on Soundgarden's Next Album by Gary Graf, May 18, 2017:

In 1989, Chris Cornell was already a rock god—and here’s the proof by Ramon Ramirez— May 18, 2017:


Chris Cornell funeral to be held May 26 in LA, sources say By Chloe Melas, CNN, May 20, 2017:



There Was No One Else on Earth Like Chris Cornell by Jeff Weiss, May 19 2017:

Celebrating the genius of Chris Cornell by Stephen Hill, May 19, 2017:

Chris Cornell, Dead of Suicide, Was Guiding Force in Grunge Music by Jon Schuppe,  May 18, 2017:

PEARL JAM's MIKE MCCREADY: CHRIS CORNELL 'Painted In Song The Darkness And Beauty Of Life In Seattle', by Blabbermouth, May 20, 2017:

Pearl Jam Release First Chris Cornell Tribute By Brett Buchanan -  May 20, 2017:

Read Tom Morello's Poem for Chris Cornell by Tom Morello, May 19, 2017:

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