Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington was discovered dead on July 20, at his private home in Los Angeles. A coroner confirmed that the singer had hung himself.
Bennington’s death comes just two months removed from the suicide of his close friend, and former Soundgarden and Audioslave singer Chris Cornell. The two vocalists met in 2008 and formed a close friendship, with Bennington even performing a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ at Cornell’s funeral.
Linkin Park – Crawling ft.Chris Cornell pic.twitter.com/otXYa3WoGl
— For lucifer’son (@forluciferson) July 20, 2017
Bennington joined Linkin Park in 1999, and the band’s debut album Hybrid Theory saw them propelled into mainstream superstardom, selling over 5 million copies in it’s first year of release, and over 20 million to this day. Now-iconic songs like ‘One Step Closer’, ‘Crawling’ and ‘In the End’ saw fans fall in love with Bennington’s impassioned, unique vocal stylings, contrasted with fellow vocalist Mike Shinoda’s rapping.
The Grammy-winning debut was followed up with the similarly popular Meteora, from which spawned the wildly popular ‘Numb/Encore’ mash-up with Jay-Z, and it’s subsequent collaborative album Collision Course, which won both parties another Grammy.
Born in Phoenix Arizona, Bennington struggled with depression, as well as alcohol and drug abuse, from an early age. In a 2008 interview with Kerrang!, Bennington revealed that as a teen he “dropped so much acid I’m surprised I can still speak. I’d smoke a bunch of crack, do a bit of meth and just sit there and freak out. Then I’d smoke opium to come down.”
A lot of the young Bennington’s drug abuse was attributed to the singer being sexual abused from a very young age- “seven or eight” according to the man himself. “It was by a friend who was a few years older than me. It escalated from a touchy, curious, ‘what does this thing do’ into full-on, crazy violations. I was getting beaten up and being forced to do things I didn’t want to do. It destroyed my self-confidence.
“Like most people, I was too afraid to say anything. I didn’t want people to think I was gay or that I was lying. It was a horrible experience. The sexual assaults continued until I was 13.”
— Chester Bennington (@ChesterBe) May 18, 2017
July 20, the day Bennington’s body was found, would’ve been Chris Cornell’s 53rd birthday. Upon Cornell’s death, Bennington uploaded an emotional tribute to his Twitter page.
Chester Bennington is survived by his wife Talinda, and his six children Tyler Lee, Lily and Lila, Draven Sebastian (from his first marriage), and Jaime and Isaiah (from a relationship with Elka Brand).