Chris Cornell ‘Autopsy’ Documentary Explores Head Trauma Theory

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An upcoming episode of TV series Autopsy: the Last Hours of … will explore the theory that Chris Cornell suffered a head injury before his death in May 2017. The show will be aired on the Reelz network on Sunday.

The Soundgarden frontman’s death was ruled a suicide, but his widow Vicky Cornell has continued to insist that he’d never have taken his own life. She believes prescription medication with known side-effects disrupted his state of mind.

The Detroit News reported that “an emergency technician [was] heard on medical dispatch audio referencing a gash in Chris Cornell’s head” and that the ambulance crew report referred to a “laceration to back of skull,” although no mention was made of such an injury in the autopsy report. Vicky told the News: “You can clearly see a gash or at least a visible big bald spot in pictures and video footage. It was confirmed by the band and crew: They said they saw it at the show, and not at sound check. You can’t tell people there was no laceration when it’s documented, and we can all see it.”

Autopsy: the Last Hours of… turned to medical examiner Dr. Michael Hunter for expert insight, though he did not perform the Cornell autopsy. “Following Chris’ death, there was an apparent call made by a paramedic on scene that said Chris may have sustained head trauma,” Hunter says, according to Alternative Nation. “It suggests that Chris acquired an injury that may have caused a concussion. A concussion can cause confusion, memory loss, and unusual behavior such as sudden mood swings, and becoming easily irritated. Did a concussion cloud Chris’ judgment, and did it contribute to his death?”

Later, Hunter offers a more definitive opinion: “I’m doubtful whether there was actually a head injury at all. The images from Chris’ final concert are inconclusive, due to the quality of footage and the lighting condition. It’s also common for scene responders to suggest injuries that, upon further examination, don’t exist. In addition, there is no mention of it in the autopsy, so on that basis alone, I can discount head injury as a contributing factor to his death.”

A statue of Cornell will be unveiled in his hometown of Seattle on Aug. 29.

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