Chris Cornell’s daughter Toni wants it known that she had “the best father in the whole entire world.”
One month after the Soundgarden singer died of suicide in his Detroit hotel room, his 12-year-old mini-me posted an open letter to him on his Facebook page in honor of Father’s Day. It’s the first time we’ve heard from her since his tragic death on May 17, which she describes as an “accident,” and her tribute to her “idol” is heartbreaking.
The letter, which is addressed to “Daddy” and signed “Your Baby Toni” starts with her telling him “how much I love you and how much you mean to me. You are my idol, someone I’ve always looked up to. You were always there for me. You pushed me forward every day, and you still do.” She goes on to say that when she feels she can’t go on, she hears his voice saying, “Don’t sit worrying peanut. Worry is a waste of time, I’m ok.”
Toni, whose mom is Cornell’s second wife, Vicky Karayiannis, talks about how her father was always there for her, despite his hectic, globetrotting tour schedule. “Every time you came home … you spent all your hours with us,” she shares. “No matter how tired you were, how many time zones you traveled, you were there for us. Whenever I was sick you would take care of me. You would cuddle with me, hug me, kiss me. You didn’t care about getting sick. You would stay up all night to make sure my fever went down. And if it didn’t, you would wake me up and give me my medicine. I would open my eyes, see you, and feel better.”
One memory she shares is of him introducing her to Prince’s Purple Rain flick earlier this year.
“We were staying at the BHH and you came into my room when I was trying to find a movie to watch,” she writes. “‘How about Purple Rain?’ you said. I always trusted your judgement. I put it on and immediately fell in love! We then got to your favorite song, ‘The Beautiful Ones.’” Toni recalls, “‘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.”
Toni, who says she bonded with her dad the most over their shared “unconditional love” of the arts (“poems, books, music, writing”), concludes by saying, “I know you are still here, and the warmth I feel beneath the cold, is you. YOU ARE THE BEST FATHER IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD. And I know, that if this wasn’t an accident, you’d still be cuddling with me watching Purple Rain. I love you and miss you so, Daddy. You deserve your own day to be celebrated because you are the best dad anyone could ever have. Happy Father’s Day!”
Her post includes several photos of them sharing special moments together.
Toni is one of Cornell’s three children. He also had an 11-year-old son, Christopher, with Vicky. From his first marriage to Susan Silver, he had a 17-year-old daughter, Lillian. All three children were at his funeral. Shortly after, Toni and Christopher were photographed spending the day with family friend Brad Pitt at Universal Studios.
The Cornell family, as Toni noted, views his death as an accident and claims that the prescription drugs found in his system likely affected his mental state. Earlier this week, a family insider told People magazine that he wasn’t suicidal at the time of his death. On the night that he died, he called a security guard and an engineer to help him fix his Apple TV system so that he could watch his favorite show. And in the weeks leading to his death, he changed two flights over safety concerns about flying in inclement weather. The toxicology report for Cornell, a recovering addict, found that he had several drugs in his system at the time of death, including butalbital (a sedative), lorazepam (Ativan, used to treat anxiety disorders), pseudoephedrine (a decongestant), and barbiturates. There was also naloxone (Narcan, used to reverse opioid overdose), but it was administered by EMTs arriving on the scene.
None of that really matters when you read Toni’s letter, though. All you think about is a girl grieving the loss of her beloved dad.
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