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Chris Cornell’s Manager Recalls Singer Being ‘Happy and Optimistic’ as Ever in Months Before Death

Cindy Ord, Getty Images
Cindy Ord, Getty Images

As we continue to process the unexpected death of Chris Cornell, tributes have been flooding in along with statements from those close to the late legend, reflecting on his legacy, influence and character. The latest comes from Ron Laffitte, Cornell’s manager, who recalled the singer being “happy and optimistic” in recent months, looking forward to the release of Soundgarden‘s long-awaited follow-up to 2012’s King Animal.

“Nobody saw this coming, his bandmates didn’t see this coming. It’s totally out of character for the Chris that I’ve known and worked with for the last 10 years,” said Laffitte to CNN prior to the private funeral held in Los Angeles yesterday (May 26). “It’s incredibly bizarre. I have to think that something threw him off the tracks … he must have been out of his right mind.”

“He was just really excited about this specific idea that we were going to do,” Laffitte continued, speaking about Cornell’s performance plans at the Global Citizens Music Festival in New York City this coming September. The singer is said to have stated, “We aren’t just going to make pop history with this one, brother. We are going to make real history,” according to the manager. Laffitte added, “I would say the last couple of months, he was as optimistic and happy as I can ever recall him … He was so excited about all these things and a new record we were going to put out in the fall.”

Cornell was laid to rest at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles where a number of his musical contemporaries (Soundgarden bandmates Kim Thayil and Matt Cameron, Audioslave bandmate Tom Morello, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, Dave Navarro, James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich and more) as well as actors (Brad Pitt, Josh Brolin, Christian Bale, James Franco and more) were present.

Tragically, the grunge icon took his own life on May 18, hanging himself in the bathroom of his hotel following Soundgarden’s performance in Detroit. His widow, Vicky, has suggested that Cornell took “an extra Ativan or two,” a drug he was prescribed to combat anxiety. The medication is known to cause side effects including suicidal ideation if more than the prescribed dosage is taken. Toxicology results are still pending at this time.

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