February 21, 2018 12:54 pm

Chris Cornell’s widow opens up about his addiction and death in first TV interview

The late Chris Cornell, Vicky Cornell arrives at the Premiere Of Open Road Films' 'The Promise' at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 12, 2017 in Hollywood, California.

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Vicky Cornell, the widow of Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell who died by hanging last May, has opened up about his battle with addiction and his relapse prior to his death.

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“My husband was the furthest thing from a rock star junkie. He just wasn’t,” she told ABC News’ Robin Roberts in her first television interview since her husband’s death. “He was the best husband, the greatest father. I lost my soulmate and the love of my life.”

Cornell, 52, was found dead in a Detroit hotel room on May 18. His death was ruled as a suicide, according to the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office. Vicky had said that Cornell’s demeanor began to change after he was prescribed benzodiazepine, a powerful pain killer, to help deal with a shoulder injury that was keeping him awake at night.

READ MORE: Chris Cornell cause of death is suicide, says medical examiner

She blamed that prescription for her husband’s relapse back into addiction.

“The brain of someone who has a substance use disorder is different from that of … someone who doesn’t. He relapsed,” she told Good Morning America.

She added that during one week-long period “he took 20-something pills… And in a nine-day period, 33.”

“He wanted to be there for his family, for his children,” Vicky added. “He loved his life. … He would never have ever left this world.”

READ MORE: Chris Cornell music therapy program in Seattle announced

“I don’t think that he could make any decisions because of the level of impairment,” Vicky said.

She added that she sometimes blames herself for not seeing the warning signs before her husband’s death.

“I know that people say … you know, you can’t blame yourself,” she said. “I’m trying not to, but there were signs.”

WATCH BELOW: The latest on Chris Cornell

Vicky also acknowledged the stigma associated with addiction, saying “people don’t recognize it as a disease.”

“People think that addiction is like, ‘Oh, you were an addict,'” she said. “I was, I feel, guilty of the same thing. You think addiction is a choice and it’s not.”

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the Canadian suicide hotline, available 24/7, at 1-800-668-6868. For more information on suicide and to find help nearest you, visit the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. Please call 911 for immediate help.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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