The wife of late Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell has broken her silence for the first time since his tragic death. In a heartfelt statement, Vicky Karayiannis denied reports Cornell may have intentionally attempted suicide after a medical examiner said he took his own life.

Cornell, 52, was found dead in his room at the MGM Grand hotel in Detroit on 17 May, just hours after performing a gig with Soundgarden. According to a preliminary autopsy conducted by the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office, Cornell was found with a band around his neck in an apparent suicide. However, further tests are being carried out to determine the cause of death.

In her first statement, Karayiannis said: "Chris's death is a loss that escapes words and has created an emptiness in my heart that will never be filled. As everyone who knew him commented, Chris was a devoted father and husband. He was my best friend. His world revolved around his family first and of course, his music, second. He flew home for Mother's Day to spend time with our family."

Karayiannis explains that she spoke to Cornell before his Fox Theatre concert and the couple discussed future plans, including a holiday over Memorial Day weekend. The former publicist says: "When we spoke after the show, I noticed he was slurring his words; he was different. When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him."

She concluded: "What happened is inexplicable and I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details. I know that he loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life."

Chris Cornell
Chris Cornell had performed with Soundgarden just hours before his death Kevin Winter/Getty Images for EBMRF

Kirk Pasich, a lawyer for Cornell's family, reiterated that it is difficult to confirm a cause of death without the results of toxicology tests. Pasich stated that Cornell was "a recovering addict" and had a prescription for Ativan, but may have taken more than the recommended dosage. The attorney adds: "The family believes that if Chris took his life, he did not know what he was doing, and that drugs or other substances may have affected his actions."

Cornell and Karayiannis were married for 13 years and are parents to two children: daughter Toni, 12, and son Christopher, 11.

What is Ativan?

Ativan is a Lorazepam, used to treat those with anxiety disorders or alcohol withdrawal. Side-effects are said to include severe drowsiness, thoughts of suicide or self-harm, hallucinations and sudden restlessness.