The singer's spouse of 13 years spoke with ABC News' Robin Roberts in her first TV sit-down since the death of the Soundgarden frontman in May 2017. He was 52.
"He loved his life," Vicky Cornell said of her husband in an interview that aired Wednesday on Good Morning America. "He would never have ever left this world."
The rocker's widow insisted that Chris Cornell's legacy goes far beyond his music. "Our family was his everything,” she said, noting that he was a great father to their two children, Toni, 13, and Christopher, 12. “As soon as he got off stage, he was a dad, he was a regular dad.”
Chris Cornell was found dead in his Detroit hotel room on May 18, and his death was ruled an apparent suicide by the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office. A number of different drugs were found in his system, according to medical reports, but the substances were not seen as a factor in his death.
Vicky Cornell, however, disagrees. "He wanted to be there for his family, for his children. He loved his life," she said. “I don't think that he could make any decisions because of the level of impairment."
According to the singer's wife, he had been sober since 2003 but fell back into addiction after being prescribed benzodiazepine "to help him sleep." Vicky Cornell claims he started taking "20-something pills" in a week-long period.
"He had really delayed speech," she recalled. "He was forgetful.”
Vicky Cornell said her husband did reach out to a colleague last March, writing in an email: "Would love to talk, had relapse."
Two months later, she was having to explain to her two children that their father was dead. "[It is] the most tragic thing you can ever go through," she said. "They’re, you know, crying, ‘Is Daddy OK?' And I said to my babies, 'Yeah, the ambulance is there and they're taking daddy to the hospital, and I'm just going to go to the hospital.'"
Vicky Cornell admits that she feels somewhat responsible for her husband's death. "I know that people say you can't blame yourself. I'm trying not to, but there were signs," she said, referring to Cornell's addiction. "You think addiction is a choice, and it's not."
She added, "My husband was the furthest thing from a rock star junkie. He just wasn't. He was the best husband, the greatest father. I lost my soulmate and the love of my life."