Full account of Chris Cornell's death emerges, 911 call released

After a call from Chris Cornell's distraught wife, bodyguard Martin Kirsten went to the Soundgarden singer's MGM Grand Detroit suite to check on him, but could not immediately gain entry.

Kirsten kicked open the room's main door, then did the same with the interior bedroom door.

"I went inside and the bathroom door was partially opened and I could see his foot," Kirsten told Detroit police in a signed statement.

The bodyguard's account was part of a lengthy investigative report obtained today by the Detroit Free Press under a Freedom of Information Act request.

Cornell was on the floor with a band around his neck. The bodyguard loosened the band, then tried to resuscitate the singer by compressing his chest, Kirsten said in his statement.

The Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office had already ruled Cornell's death a suicide by hanging. Police also determined the singer's death to be a suicide after they received the autopsy report, a police spokesman said.

The documents released today chronicle a several-week investigation following Cornell's May 18 death. They provide the most complete picture yet about a series of events that garnered international attention.

Included in the batch of information were 74 photos from the hotel scene, including the blood-splattered bathroom, the red exercise band presumably used in the hanging and the broken door jamb from the bodyguard's forced entrance. Also include were personal effects such as his Delta airline ticket from New York to Detroit, prescription pill bottles and an acoustic guitar lying on brown chair.

Also released was a 911 call placed by an apparent hotel employee at 12:56 a.m. reporting a "nonresponsive guest ... inside of room 1136."

"The guest was attempting to hang himself," the caller said.

The 911 operator asked: "He's not breathing?"

"No," the caller said.

Cornell, 52, was found unresponsive in the bathroom of his room after his band's Fox Theatre concert.

Cornell's autopsy report, released June 2, said toxicology tests detected lorazepam, which is used in the treatment of anxiety and sold as Ativan; pseudoephedrine, a decongestant; naloxone, used to counter effects of opioids; butalbital, a sedative, and caffeine in his system. But the report revealed the drugs "did not contribute to the cause of death."

The autopsy report said Cornell, who was 6-foot-3 and weighed 180 pounds, was in a torn gray T-shirt and black underwear.

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved


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