Last Thursday when Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington was found dead in his California home, having hung himself, it sent shockwaves through the music industry. He was just 41 years old and left behind six children. His band was just one week away from launching a tour in support of their latest album, ‘One More Light,’ which was scheduled to stop at Camden’s BB&T Pavilion next.
The tour has obviously been cancelled, and Bennington’s stunned bandmates are left trying to make sense of it all. Four days after his July 20 suicide, the group released an open letter to the frontman which read in part, “Our hearts are broken. The shockwaves of grief and denial are still sweeping through our family as we come to grips with what has happened.”
“You touched so many lives, maybe even more than you realized,” it continued. “In the past few days, we’ve seen an outpouring of love and support, both public and private, from around the world. (Bennington’s wife) Talinda and the family appreciate it, and want the world to know that you were the best husband, son, and father; the family will never be whole without you.”
Fellow musicians reacted as well, most in disbelief.
“I was devastated to hear about Chester,” said My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way in an interview with The Nerdist. “He was actually at my wedding. Not a lot of people were there because we got married super quickly at the end of the tour when half the people had gone home. So there were literally only 30 or 40 people there, and he was one of them.”
“An avalanche of emotions & feelings; sadness; anger; confusion; loss; heartbreak,” Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash posted to Instagram along with a picture of Bennington. “I could go on. But loss & heartbreak reign here. I’m going to miss you Chester. Everybody is going to miss you. RIP.”
“RIP to Chester Bennington and my sincerest condolences to his family, friends, and the Linkin Park family,” Justin Timberlake tweeted. “Truly unique, humble frontman.”
“Rest In Peace…” tweeted pop star Katy Perry. “My heart goes out to all the family left behind. If you’re suffering as well don’t be ashamed to talk to someone about it.”
“I am in tears. Chester just told me how happy he was…” tweeted Motley Crue founder Nikki Sixx, who had recently interviewed Bennington on his radio show. “He was such a sweet and talented man……I feel so sad for his family, band mates and fans.”
“I am so sorry to hear about Chester Bennington,” Alice in Chains singer William DuVall posted to his Facebook page. “I just saw him at Chris Cornell’s funeral and now this. Chester was always a very nice person every time I ever met him over the years. My thoughts go out to his family. This is just terrible.”
Speaking of Cornell, who died by suicide back in May, the Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman would’ve turned 53 on the very day Bennington took his life. The two were close, with Bennington singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” at Cornell’s funeral. Unfortunately, they were even closer in death; Bennington hung himself in almost the exact same manner as Cornell.
Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda told Radio.com that the band were at a television taping when they found out about Cornell, and decided to play the title track to ‘One More Light’ in tribute.
“When we were doing a sound check Chester couldn’t even make it through the song,” Shinoda said. “He was getting halfway through and getting choked up.”
Bennington also performed with Stone Temple Pilots from 2013 — 2015 before amicably departing to focus on both his family and Linkin Park. The remaining members of the group, who lost their estranged original singer Scott Weiland at the end of 2015 to a drug overdose, released a statement shortly after the news was confirmed.
“It is a sad day today to know that so many of us will no longer share in your laughter, friendship and love,” it read. “You showed us time and time again what it is to be an incredible human being. A beacon of light and hope is what you will always be to us. We love you Chester. We will miss you.”
Linkin Park burst on the scene in 2000 with the album ‘Hybrid Theory’ and the smash singles “Crawling” and “One Step Closer.” They came in as part of the nu metal movement, infused with bits of rap rock, but when those genres fell by the wayside, Bennington and his bandmates continued to evolve and thrive, becoming — and remaining — one of the top alternative acts in music.
‘One More Light’ was Linkin Park’s seventh LP, all of which have ended up in the Top 10 on the charts. They’ve also had two remix albums and a mashup record with rapper Jay-Z do the same.
The 2004 EP with Jay Z, aptly titled ‘Collision Course,’ divided fanbases of both artists. Some saw it as a quick cash grab, others a unique collaboration. It hit number one, so was obviously a hit. The two acts never toured together, instead doing a series of one offs at award shows and benefit concerts, one of them was the Philadelphia edition of the 2005 Live 8 concert.
To contact music columnist Michael Christopher, send an email to email@example.com. Also, check out his blog at www.thechroniclesofmc.com