According to TMZ, Linkin Park’s lead singer Chester Bennington is dead at the age of 41 after hanging himself. The celebrity news site reports that he killed himself at his home in Palos Verdes Estates, just outside of Los Angeles. He was married to Talinda Ann Bentley and had six children.
His band Linkin Park recently released their seventh studio album One More Light. The record found the band departing from their electronic nu metal sound in favor of a more pop oriented style. While it fared well commercially, hitting number one on the Billboard 200 charts, it generated mixed reviews from critics and long-time fans.
Bennington is one of the two vocalists in Linkin Park, providing a more hard rock/metal style of singing to contrast to Mike Shinoda’s rap style. He joined the Agoura Hills band in 2000 when they were known as Xero, navigating their long, successful and varied career. Gaining immense popularity during the rise of nu-metal and rap rock, Linkin Park always exuded more experimental tenancies and a willingness to stray from the herd – and much of that was owed to Bennington. The group’s debut album Hybrid Theory was the best-selling album of 2001, a testament to the band’s innovative style that blended hip-hop beats, electronic ambiance and metal aggression. The band won a GRAMMY award in 2002 for their song “Crawling,” which came from their debut (which was also nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Rock Album but lost to U2’s Brian Eno-produced All That You Can’t Leave Behind).
UPDATE (10:30 PM PST): According to Associated Press, the Los Angeles County Coroner spokesman Brian Elias stated the death is being investigated as a suicide. While initial reports indicated that Bennington hanged himself, that detail has not been specified. His body was found by his housekeeper before 9:00 PM PST today. The county coroner also stated that no suicide note was found at the scene of the death, and the singer was alone at the time he passed.
Co-vocalist Mike Shinoda issued this tweet today, verifying the death of Bennington.
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
In a tragic twist, Bennington’s suicide happened on the day that would have been his friend Chris Cornell’s 53rd birthday. Cornell recently passed away after a concert in Detroit, and while his family has disputed it, his death was also ruled a suicide. The two singers performed together during their careers, notably on a live version of “Crawling/HHH.”
Bennington performed at Cornell’s memorial service earlier this year. Unlike the token reactions most of the music world issued following his death, Bennington offered this up on Twitter:
I dreamt about the Beatles last night. I woke up with Rocky Raccoon playing in my head and a concerned look on my wife’s face. She told me my friend had just passed away. Thoughts of you flooded my mind and I wept. I’m still weeping, with sadness, as well as gratitude for having shared some very special moments with you and your beautiful family. You have inspired me in many ways you could never have known. Your talent was pure and unrivaled. Your voice was joy and pain, anger and forgiveness, love and heartache all wrapped up into one. I suppose that’s what we all are. You helped me understand that. I just watched a video of you singing “A Day In The Life” by the Beatles and thought of my dream. I’d like to think you were saying goodbye in you own way. I can’t imagine a world without you in it. I pray you find peace in the next life. I send my love to your wife and children, friends and family. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your life.”
UPDATE (7/21): According to TMZ, more details of Bennington’s death have emerged. Tragically, the details are strikingly similar to the death of his friend and fellow rock legend Chris Cornell. He indeed did hang himself in a door frame between his closet and bedroom, using a belt. There were no drugs found at the scene, though a partially empty bottle of alcohol was found on the scene.
Watch this space as more details emerge in the death of one of rock music’s most well-known vocalists.
Photo Credit: Photos by Shareef Ellis