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Linkin Park's lead singer Chester Bennington dies at 41

Saturday, July 22, 2017

On Thursday, Chester Bennington, lead singer of US rock band Linkin Park, died in his home in Los Angeles at the age of 41. The Los Angeles county coroner confirmed Bennington's death; reportedly it was being investigated as a possible suicide.

Chester Bennington at a 2014 concert
Image: Stefan Brending.

A two-time Grammy award winner with the band, Chester Bennington joined Linkin Park when he was 23. Also featuring rapper Mike Shinoda, Linkin Park released their first album, Hybrid Theory, in 2000. The band went on to release six more albums featuring Bennington's voice, including One More Light, which was released this year. The band was scheduled to go on a tour for One More Light, but it has been canceled.

Their song Crawling, from Hybrid Theory, won a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance. The band was also nominated for Best Rock Album and Best New Artist. A year after releasing Meteora, Linkin Park collaborated with rapper Jay-Z for the Collision Course EP in 2004 whose single Numb/Encore won a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Meteora has sold more than 27 million copies, which featured the hit song Numb.

In his statement, Warner Bros. Records CEO Cameron Strang said, "Chester Bennington was an artist of extraordinary talent and charisma, and a human being with a huge heart and a caring soul." The Recording Academy President Neil Portnow said, "We have lost a truly dynamic member of the music community".

In 2013, Bennington performed at the MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert, whose aim was to aid addiction treatment. Born on March 20, 1976 in Phoenix, Arizona, to a nurse and a police detective, Bennington recounted being abused in his childhood, molested by an older friend over the course of several years starting when he was seven or eight. In a 2008 interview with Kerrang!, he said, "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."

In an interview with Noisecreep in 2009, he said, "I don't have a problem with people knowing that I had a drinking problem. That's who I am, and I'm kind of lucky in a lot of ways because I get to do something about it." Of the band's Grammy-winning song Crawling, Bennington said the song was "about feeling like I had no control over myself in terms of drugs and alcohol."

His first marriage ended in a divorce, and he said, "I knew that I had a drinking problem, a drug problem, and that parts of my personal life were crazy, but I didn't realise how much that was affecting the people around me until I got a good dose of 'Here's-what-you're-really-like.'" In 2011, he told The Guardian, "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 [...] My God, no wonder I became a drug addict. No wonder I just went completely insane for a little while."

Bennington died on the day his singer friend Chris Cornell would have turned 53. Cornell hanged himself earlier this year. After Cornell's death, Bennington said, "I can't imagine a world without you in it."

Bennington is survived by his six children and his wife, Talinda Bentley, whom he married in 2006.

Sources