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Family of Chris Cornell settles with doctor over his death

The Soundgarden singer died by suicide in 2017 with a range of drugs in his system.

The family of the late singer Chris Cornell and a doctor they alleged over-prescribed him drugs before he died have agreed to a settle a lawsuit.

Court documents filed by attorneys for the rock star’s widow, Vicky Cornell, and their children, Toni and Christopher Nicholas Cornell, said a confidential settlement had been reached. The documents were filed in April, but they had gone unnoticed before City News Service reported on them on Thursday.

The Cornell family alleged in the lawsuit filed in 2018 in Los Angeles Superior Court that medication, especially the anti-anxiety drug lorazepam, prescribed by Dr Robert Koblin, led to erratic behaviour from the Soundgarden front man before his death in Detroit in 2017 at age 52.

Coroner’s investigators in Michigan ruled Cornell’s death a suicide by hanging. Tests showed the presence of lorazepam, better known by its brand name Ativan, in Cornell’s system along with barbiturates and the anti-opioid drug naloxone, but did not cite them as a factor in his death.

Hard Rock Calling 2012 – London
Chris Cornell (right) and Kim Thayil in a Soundgarden performance in London (Lewis Whyld/PA)

The lawsuit said Koblin and his Beverly Hills, California, office “negligently and repeatedly” prescribed “dangerous mind-altering controlled substances to Chris Cornell which impaired Mr Cornell’s cognition, clouded his judgment, and caused him to engage in dangerous impulsive behaviours that he was unable to control, costing him his life”.

The lawsuit said the doctor did this knowing Cornell had a serious history of substance abuse.

In court documents responding to the lawsuit, Koblin and his lawyer denied any wrongdoing or responsibility for Cornell’s death.

“After years of litigation and settlement negotiations, Plaintiffs and Defendants … have reached a confidential settlement agreement to resolve all claims,” the Cornell family attorneys said in the court filing.

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