TMZ reports that Linkin Park singer and melodic screamer Chester Bennington was found dead of an apparent suicide just before 9:00 this morning. Law enforcement sources say he hanged himself at a private residence in Los Angeles county. He was 41.
Linkin Park were formed in Augora Hills, California in 1996 and only four years later, they got big with their album Hybrid Theory. Both Hybrid Theory and their follow-up Meteora were a huge albums. In 2004, Linkin Park got together with Jay Z and made the rap/nu metal hybrid album Collision Course, which won them their second Grammy award (for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration). Chester was also recruited by Stone Temple Pilots to replace Scott Weiland in 2013.
Chester is survived by his wife and six children. Linkin Park co-founder Mike Shinoda confirmed the news on Twitter:
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
TMZ makes this story even sadder by reminding us that Chester was a close friend of Chris Cornell (Chester wrote a really heartbreaking letter to Chris the day after he was found dead). He also sang Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah at Chris’ funeral in May. Today would have been Chris Cornell’s 53rd birthday. They also add that Chester spoke candidly in the past about suicide, saying he considered because he been abused as a child by an older male.
I grew up in a place that was kind of the country/kind of the suburbs, and I didn’t exactly love high school, so to say that Linkin Park was a part of my teen experience would be a major understatement. I spent a whole year wearing Discman scratches into a burned copy of Meteora, and I have such specific memories of driving to the mall while blasting Faint. Also there was no end to the number of guys I knew who, even if they didn’t want to admit it, cut their hair short and either stretched their ears or got a lip ring to look like Chester.
I’ll leave with the video for In The End because it’s probably the song most people will think of when they think of Chester’s voice, and because it honestly doesn’t get any better than the early 2000s computer animation in this video.
Rest in peace, Chester.