On Sunday, Chris Cornell's family — his widow Vicky and his children Toni, Christopher and Lillian — experienced their first Father's Day without the late Soundgarden frontman. It's a particularly difficult milestone in the cycle of grief, one likely made even more challenging for the Cornell family by the fact the music icon passed away so suddenly and so recently on May 17.
To honor her father, Cornell's 12-year-old daughter Toni shared a letter on his official Facebook page, detailing some of her finest memories, the lessons her father taught her and how she still feels his presence in her life.
"You are my idol, someone I’ve always looked up to," she writes. "You were always there for me. You pushed me forward every day, and you still do. Whenever I cry or feel like there’s no way I can go on, I hear your voice, 'Don’t sit worrying peanut. Worry is a waste of time, I’m ok.'"
Toni details one particularly strong memory: When she watched Purple Rain, Prince's masterpiece film, alongside her father.
"I put it on and immediately fell in love!" she wrote. "We then got to your favorite song, 'The Beautiful Ones.' 'This song is so special it doesn't even belong in a genre. When I was in my twenties, I saw this in the theatre and some guy started cracking up laughing at this scene and song. It got me really mad,' you said. I fell in love with the song too and listened to it on repeat.
"Who’s going to introduce me to movies like Purple Rain and songs like 'The Beautiful Ones' now? I'm hoping I will find some because you trained me so well."
Chris Cornell's official cause of death was declared by the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office as "hanging by suicide," a result Cornell's wife has challenged. "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," Vicky wrote in a statement, citing research that an overdose of anti-anxiety prescription drug Ativan may have potentially caused "paranoid or suicidal thoughts, slurred speech and impaired judgment."
A June toxicology report found an abnormally high dose of Ativan in Cornell's system, according to Rolling Stone, but "lower than the 300 ng/mL Ativan blood levels of those whose death are tied to the drug."
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