Chris Cornell would have turned 55 years old on Saturday, and his wife Vicky marked the occasion with a new tribute to the late singer. Cornell passed away in 2017, leaving behind a prodigious legacy -- and a vacuum -- in the world of alternative rock.
Vicky Cornell shared a black and white photo of her late husband with two of his children on Saturday. It showed the singer crouched over a birthday cake with Toni, now 14 and Christopher, now 13. She wrote that Cornell is "forever missed, forever loved" in the caption.
In addition, the post included an email that Cornell had apparently sent to her before his passing. Vicki covered up her husband's email address on the note, but let fans read the heart-warming message he had sent her, the "Sent from my iPhone" tag still present at the bottom.
“You know I only care about my family,” the email read. “You and my babies. It’s hard for me to go to sleep and wake up without you. When it’s bumpy and I think about the plane crashing, all I can think about is you three and nothing that separates us seems worth it.”
"Come to me!" Cornell finished his touching message.
Cornell was the lead singer of bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, among other projects, and was likely traveling for a performance when the email was sent. He passed away in May of 2017, and his death was ruled a suicide. He was 52 years old at the time.
Cornell had a history of mental health issues, as well as addiction that he had grappled with for years. Cornell was clean and sober for years before his passing, yet ultimately that illness still played a part in his death. This past February, Vicki traveled to Washington, D.C. to speak with lawmakers about the opioid crisis and give them an idea of how it is affecting every family it touches.
“The part that hurts most is Chris’ death was not inevitable, there were no demons that took over — Chris had a brain disease and a doctor who, unfortunately, like many, was not properly trained or educated on addiction,” she said, according to a report by PEOPLE. “We must integrate addiction treatment into our health care system — no more false narratives about the need to hit rock bottom, no more secret societies, no more shame — we must educate health care providers on how to treat addiction and best support recovery.”
Cornell's birthday is also the anniversary of the death of Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington, who passed away just two months after his friend Cornell. Fans are mourning both iconic singers on social media.