Linkin Park Singer Chester Bennington Dies in Apparent Suicide
Bennington, who also briefly sang with the Stone Temple Pilots, was found hanged at his home just before 9AM today in Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., the Los Angeles County Coroner tells CNN. The twice-married 41 year old was said to have six children. TMZ said his family was away, and that Bennington’s body was discovered by an employee.
He’d struggled with addiction in the past, but more recently said everyone in the Grammy-winning Linkin Park was clean. “We’re not a cliched rock band where everyone is messed up on drugs,” Bennington told Metal Hammer in 2016. “We’re all decent people, so that makes me proud too.”
He was also frank about his history of abuse as a child. “When I was young, getting beaten up and pretty much raped was no fun,” Bennington told the Guardian in 2011. “No one wants that to happen to you and honestly, I don’t remember when it started.”
In a bitter irony, Bennington’s death arrives on what would have been the birthday of his friend Chris Cornell, who also hanged himself this year. Bennington wrote an open letter to Cornell after the long-time Soundgarden frontman’s suicide, and also sang “Hallelujah” at Cornell’s funeral.
The band that eventually became Linkin Park was founded in 1996 by three high school friends in Agoura Hills, Calif., with Mark Wakefield as their original frontman. Bennington joined in 1999, as the group transitioned from being called Hybrid Theory to a new name in honor of Santa Monica’s Lincoln Park. Hybrid Theory then became the title of their 11-million-selling debut in 2000.
“We believed in what we were doing so much,” Bennington said in a separate 2016 talk with Metal Hammer, “and we were like, ‘F—, why can’t anybody else see this?’ But when the album came out, I guess they saw it.”
Subsequent work with Jay Z led to a series of appearances, including at Live 8, while 2003’s Meteora and 2007’s Minutes to Midnight also went multi-platinum. Bennington formed the side project Dead by Sunrise in 2005, then took over after the late Scott Weiland was fired by the Stone Temple Pilots in 2013. They released the EP High Rise together before Bennington left to focus on Linkin Park again in 2015.
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