Chester Charles Bennington, 41, Phoenix, lead singer of Linkin Park was pronounced dead shortly after 9:00 A.M. on Thursday, July 20, 2017, having committed suicide at his home in Palos Verdes Estates, California.
Chester C. Bennington was born on March 20, 1976, in Phoenix, Arizona to Susan Elaine Johnson and Lee Russell Bennington. Best known for his position as lead singer in Linkin Park (1999-2017), he was also a member of four other bands. Chester’s earliest bands were Sean Dowdell and His Friends? (1993) and Grey Daze (1993-1998). While between Linkin Park albums he was also co-founder of Dead By Sunrise (2005-2009) and was a lead singer for Stone Temple Pilots (2013-2015).
The Voice of a generation as media outlets dub Chester in wake of his death. Fans mourn the loss of a singer who blended autobiographical lyrics with a voice uniquely all his own. Chester brought Nu Metal to the popular music scene in full force, combining electronic, rap, and metal. Singing in the style that Chester did, his technique allowed others to understand the lyrics to the dark lyrics that had not always been possible for those not a fan of Metal music. Linkin Park became an outlet for those who were frustrated, depressed, and weary.
A childhood that included sexual abuse from a male friend, which subsequently led to addiction issues, Chester was able to rise above his conflicted youth to become one of the most influential and recognizable alternative rock singers of a generation. Addiction issues started at the age of 13 and he would battle them on and off into adulthood, switching from drugs to alcohol. Chester admitted in 2011 that his alcoholism had reached a point of stop or die in his life, and he chose to step away from that lifestyle turning to a path of recovery.
The songs he wrote connected Chester firmly with his audience. He used his past and issues for many songs and he always honestly spoke of where his material and inspiration came from. The honesty of drug and alcohol addictions and the sexual abuse he’d only suffered in silence with was made evident by Chester through his songwriting and earned the respect of his fans.
Two months prior, Chester’s close friend Chris Cornell (best known for being the lead singer of SoundGarden) had committed suicide and it was on Chris Cornell’s birthday that Chester died. Chris Cornell’s death hit him hard, his letter to Chris on social media and rendition of Hallelujah at his service showing how deeply Chester had felt the loss.
Chester C. Bennington leaves behind the legacy of Linkin Park, a band that has sold more than 70 million records and topped charts and billboards throughout their career. Hybrid Theory became a defining album of its decade and they became known for their modern sound that combined rock with a tech heavy sound and rap.
Hybrid Theory became Diamond certified in January 2005 and reached number two on the Billboard200. Meteora reached number 36 in the Billboard’s Top 200 of the Decade with its song Session being nominated for a 2004 Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. Linkin Park’s singles include; In the End, Numb, Somewhere I belong, Shadow of the Day, What I’ve Done, The Catalyst, LOST IN THE ECHO, Until it’s Gone, and Heavy. All seven albums have had commercial success, even if critics and fans were divided at times. Their last album, One More Light was released on May 19, 2017, and on July 6, was the last concert Chester Bennington performed.
Chester C. Bennington is survived by his wife Talinda Bentley, his four sons, twin daughters, half brother, and two half sisters.