‘I know Chris will be proud’: Vicky Cornell speaks about her husband’s death, fulfilling his mission

It has been nearly three months since musician Chris Cornell died. In that time, his wife Vicky Cornell and the family has set up a music therapy program in his name, planned for a statue of him, and more.

Nearly three months have passed, and still, Vicky Cornell can’t listen to her husband’s music or bear the sound of his voice.

To do so would bring her back to that awful night, that phone call, when Chris Cornell told her through slurry words that he had taken a couple of extra Ativan for anxiety after performing a Soundgarden show in Detroit on May 18.

After they hung up, Vicky Cornell called security to check on him. Cornell was found in the bathroom. He had hanged himself. He was 52.

“Chris’s passing was so sudden,” Vicky Cornell said via email the other day. “It came with no warning except in that last call, which will stay with me forever.

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“I understand everyone is looking for answers that make sense to us. The truth is, it will never make sense. Because it wasn’t meant to happen.”

Despite her grief, there is comfort in the outpouring of support that she and her children — Toni, 12, and Christopher, 11 — have received from friends and fans, especially in Seattle, where Cornell was born and nurtured his music career.

“It has been amazing,” she said, “and it has really helped sustain my family and me.”

And she is working to preserve her husband’s legacy, something that she was eager to share in a recent email.

While there was never an official Seattle memorial for her husband — save for a gathering at KEXP — Cornell has hired the artist and sculptor Wayne Toth to create a statue of him to be placed somewhere in the city. (Toth created the statue of Johnny Ramone that stands at his grave at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, where Chris Cornell is buried.)

“He has already given me a design and the children and I love it,” Vicky Cornell said of Toth, adding that it will take about seven months to make the statue.

In the meantime, Seattle attorney and family friend Mark Johnson is working with the city of Seattle to find a location.

Cornell would love to hear from fans where they think the statue should be placed: “He is Seattle’s son,” she said, “and we will be bringing him home and honoring him, I hope, with all of you, your love and support.”

In addition to the statue, Cornell has…

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