Chester Bennington, front man and vocalist of the American rock band Linkin Park, committed suicide at his home near Los Angeles. He was 41. The vocalist, a popular figure around the world with a massive fan-base even in India, had been battling alcohol and drug addiction for years, and had had a troubled childhood that he would often allude to in his songs.
Brian Elias, the chief of operations for the Los Angeles County coroner’s office, confirmed the death in Palos Verdes Estates, and said it was being investigated as a possible suicide after law enforcement authorities responded to a call shortly after 9 AM.
Known for his piercing scream and lyrics full of confusion and existential dilemma, Chester Charles Bennington’s first tryst with singing happened when he began singing with a band called Sean Dowdell and His Friends?. They released a three-track cassette in 1993.
When he moved out of his previous band and was ready to give up singing, Linkin Park happened. Jeff Blue, the vice president of A&R at Zomba Music in Los Angeles, offered him an audition with the future members of the now-famous rock band. After a successful audition, there was no looking back; the band was initially named Xero, and released their debut album, Hybrid Theory, through Warner Bros. Records.
“It’s easy to fall into that thing – ‘poor, poor me’, that’s where songs like ‘Crawling’ come from: I can’t take myself. But that song is about taking responsibility for your actions. I don’t say ‘you’ at any point. It’s about how I’m the reason that I feel this way. There’s something inside me that pulls me down,” Bennington told Rolling Stones in an interview once, talking about how he wrote his lyrics.
Apart from Linkin Park, Bennington co-founded another project – ‘Dead By Sunrise’ – in 2005, with Orgy and Julien-K members, Amir Derakh and Ryan Shuck. He joined Stone Temple Pilots in 2013, a band he had been dreaming of becoming a part of since he was a child.
While he thrived in various collaborations and projects, much of Bennington’s emotional lyrics came from a troubled childhood.
Born in Phoenix, Arizona on March 20, 1970 to a mother who was a nurse and father, a police detective, Bennington’s life visibly spiralled when his parents divorced. He was 11 years old at the time and subsequently sought to various substance abuse. In several interviews, Bennington admitted that he had overcome his problem.
Bennington was also sexually abused as a child which he found difficult to talk about until he was 13 years old. He was also a victim of bullying and would often get assaulted.
His friendship with Audioslave and Soundgarden frontman, Chris Cornell, was known. In May this year, Cornell hanged himself in a hotel room in Detroit, US. After his death, Bennington wrote a tearful tribute for his friend and even performed ‘Hallelujah’ at his funeral.
“I can’t imagine a world without you. I pray you find peace in the next life,” he wrote.
Bennington married Talinda Bentley, a schoolteacher and former model, in 2006. He is survived by his wife and six children, one of whom graduated recently.
My baby girl graduated today!! One of the greatest moments of my life❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/pzm8d9XUV5
— Chester Bennington (@ChesterBe) May 29, 2017
Tributes have been pouring for the rockstar from all over the world.
Oh dear God. Massive R.I.P to Chester Bennington of @linkinpark this BREAKS OUR HEART. Suicide is the devil on earth walking amongst us ?
— OneRepublic (@OneRepublic) July 20, 2017
— LINKIN PARK (@linkinpark) July 20, 2017
Shocked and heartbroken, but it’s true. An official statement will come out as soon as we have one.
— Mike Shinoda (@mikeshinoda) July 20, 2017
RIP to Chester Bennington and my sincerest condolences to his family, friends, and the Linkin Park family. Truly unique, humble frontman.
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) July 21, 2017
Saddened to hear of the passing of Chester Bennington and the talent that goes with him. Thoughts are with family and loved ones.
— Hozier (@Hozier) July 21, 2017
Pic: Virgin Radio