Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington has died by suicide at the age of 41 on the birthday of his close friend, Chris Cornell.
The singer’s cause of death was suicide by hanging, according to the entertainment website. Bennington was so close to Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, who also died of suicide in a similar manner, that he was godfather to one of Cornell’s children. Tragically, Bennington died by suicide on what would have been Cornell’s birthday. Cornell was born on July 20, 1964.
Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda confirmed Bennington’s death, writing on Twitter: “Shocked and heartbroken, but it’s true. An official statement will come out as soon as we have one.” Bennington was the rock band’s lead singer. Linkin Park band member Joe Hahn was photographed arriving at Bennington’s home after the suicide.
The singer’s death is the latest tragedy to hit the music business, which has suffered through the loss of everyone from Prince to George Michael in recent times.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Bennington Hauntingly Sang ‘Hallelujah’ at Chris Cornell’s Funeral
After Cornell died of suicide on May 18, 2017 in Detroit, Bennington penned a heartwrenching tribute to his lost friend on Twitter. Cornell was 52 when he died.
“Thoughts of you flooded my mind, and I wept,” he wrote in part. “You have inspired me in many ways you never could have known…I can’t imagine a world without you in it. I pray you find peace in the next life.” Friends said that Bennington was not the same after Cornell died.
Here’s a photo of Bennington singing at Cornell’s funeral:
Cornell’s widow, Vicky, tweeted about her heartbreak after learning Bennington had also died.
According to Spin.com, “When he toured with Linkin Park in the late-’00s, Bennington would join Cornell to sing Temple Of The Dog’s “Hunger Strike” and Cornell would repay the favor and help sing ‘Crawling.'”
Linkin Park dedicated the album, One More Light, to Chris Cornell. It was released in May.
Fans expressed heartbreak over the loss, especially coming on Cornell’s birthday and so close to the Soundgarden great’s own death.
“RIP Chester Bennington. Such a talent who touched so many with his music,” wrote one fan on Twitter. “I am shook to the core #chesterbennington ?,”wrote another.
“It always hurts me deep in my soul to witness the death of a talented musician. #ChesterBennington,” wrote one fan.
2. Chester Bennington Was Found Dead at an Estate in Los Angeles
TMZ reports that the singer died in Los Angeles County and was discovered on July 20.
According to TMZ, “the singer hanged himself at a private residence in Palos Verdes Estates in L.A. County. His body was discovered Thursday just before 9 a.m.”
“Bennington was home alone at the time of the suicide. We’re told his family was out of town and he was found upstairs by an employee,” the entertainment site added.
CNN reported that the Los Angeles County coroner had confirmed Bennington’s death. “The coroner’s office was called out to a home in Palos Verdes Estates shortly after 9 a.m. Thursday. Authorities said they were treating the case as a possible suicide,” reported CNN.
On social media, Bennington frequently posted poems. Some of them are even more moving after his death.
“That I could always see in you, Before my flame went dark,” ended one poem he posted in April.
Linkin Park’s success came fast, almost overnight, reported The Guardian in 2011: “Bennington went from sleeping in the back of an old Toyota to fronting what was then the biggest-selling debut album of the 21st century. Fans blared music outside his house.” He fell back into drug abuse that had plagued him as a child, the British news site reported.
The 2000 album Hybrid Theory sold almost “5 million copies thanks to stand-out singles ‘Crawling’ and ‘One Step Closer.’ The album was Grammy nominated, the song “Crawling” winning the award for Best Hard Rock Performance.” The band also struck chart success with the album, Meteora.
The band also famously performed with Jay Z.
Bennington’s voice became synonymous with the nu metal genre of the early 2000s, and he was also briefly the frontman for the band, Stone Temple Pilots.
3. Bennington Was Married Twice & Left Behind a Wife & Six Children
Bennington had two marriages during his life and leaves behind six children. At the time of his death, he was married to second wife, Talinda Bentley, with whom he had three children, twin daughters Lily and Lila and a son, Tyler. Talinda is a former Playboy model.
On Father’s Day, Talinda called Bennington the man of her dreams.
She frequently posted photos of the family on social media.
Bennington had one child, a son named Jamie, with former girlfriend Elka Brand and he adopted her son Isaiah as well. His second son was with first wife Samantha Marie Olit. The two married in 1996 and had Draven Sebastian six years later. He and Olit divorced in 2005.
Bennington told The Guardian that he and his first wife had married too young, before he could even afford a wedding ring. “We were volatile personalities, and even though we helped each other, we were not good for each other, and that brought up other feelings,” he told the news site.
You can read more about Bennington’s family here:
4. Bennington Spoke of Suicide Before & Childhood Abuse
Although it’s not clear why Bennington tragically took his own life, he’d spoken about suicide in the past and blamed the thoughts on past abuse.
According to TMZ, “The singer struggled with drugs and alcohol for years. He had said in the past he had considered committing suicide because he had been abused as a child by an older male.”
Bennington spoke in a raw and emotional fashion about being abused as a child, and the wounds the abuse left inside him.
In 2011, he told The Guardian in a searing interview: “When I was young, getting beaten up and pretty much raped was no fun. “No one wants that to happen to you and honestly, I don’t remember when it started. But about four years ago I went to visit my mom and I saw a picture of myself and I remember very clearly when that picture was taken. All of a sudden, because I had kids, I looked at it and thought: ‘Wow, that’s what I looked like.’ And then I remembered. Oh my God. I remember that stuff happening to me at that stage and even thinking about it now makes me want to cry. Oh my God, that was f*cking happening to me and I was just that little, much earlier than I’d remembered. My God, no wonder I became a drug addict. No wonder I just went completely insane for a little while.”
5. Bennington Was Born in Arizona & Struggled When his Parents Divorced
Bennington was from Phoenix where, according to Twitter, he still lived. His mother, Susan, was a nurse, and his father, Lee, was a police detective, according to IMDB.
“His parents divorced when he was 11 years old. He has two half sisters and a half brother. He attended Centennial High School at the beginning of his freshman year. Then he went to Greenway High School where he started his first band, Grey Daze. He graduated from Washington High School in 1994,” IMDB reported.
Bennington told the Guardian that his drug use started when his parents divorced. “His parents’ divorce when he was 11 led him to start smoking pot, which led to cocaine and methamphetamine,” The Guardian reported.
The band “was set to kick off a tour in Boston next week,” CNN reported.