Chris Cornell’s Widow Recounts Love Story, Bids Farewell to ‘Best Friend’ in Emotional Letter: ‘We Were Soul Mates’

Chris Cornell’s Widow Recounts Love Story, Bids Farewell to ‘Best Friend’ in Emotional Letter: ‘We Were Soul Mates’

Chris Cornell‘s family is honoring the rocker’s legacy.  The Soundgarden frontman’s widow, Vicky Karayiannis, exclusively shares with PEOPLE a poignant, heartfelt letter she has written to her late husband.

Cornell was only 52 years old when he died last Wednesday; a medical examiner ruled his death suicide by hanging. Just hours before his body was found in his Detroit hotel room, Cornell played what would be his final concert with Soundgarden at the Fox Theatre.

His suicide remains a mystery, as family and friends say he was in good spirits in the days leading up to his death. And, as the family’s lawyer, Kirk Pasich, told PEOPLE in a statement last week: “Chris, a recovering addict, had a prescription for Ativan and may have taken more Ativan than recommended dosages. The family believes that if Chris took his life, he did not know what he was doing, and that drugs or other substances may have affected his actions.”

Cornell’s family — Karayiannis, daughter Toni, 12, and son Christopher, 11, as well as daughter Lillian, 16, from his previous marriage to Susan Silver — will lay the musician to rest at an L.A. funeral service Friday.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Below, Karayiannis’s full letter to her late husband, in which she recounts their nearly 15-year love story — and tells him, “you can rest in peace.”

To My Sweet Christopher,

I met you on a starry Paris night in January 2003 at Hotel Plaza Athénée after I received a call about Audioslave’s under-the-radar, after-show party for the following night. I remember being introduced to you, and how your eyes pierced through me.

The next day was your show, which I did not attend. I met up with everyone at your after party, and realizing I wasn’t at the show you dryly asked, “Well, where were you? Out having a sandwich?” We sat, a bunch of us. I recall you ordering fois gras and me asking if you were sure you knew what you were ordering. You always had such eloquent taste.

Someone was asking who was the most beautiful girl at L’Avenue. You got up in front of everyone, looked all around, and came back and pointed at me. We talked that night until the sun came up, and it was time for you to leave for the next city. You called me the very…