Behind the Death: Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington

Depression is commonplace for many artists, particularly in rock music. This was true for Chester Bennington. Most notable for being the lead singer of Linkin Park, Bennington also fronted Stone Temple Pilots and the rock supergroup Dead by Sunrise. Known for his distinct three-octave tenor voice, Bennington helped make metal music mainstream, especially with Linkin Park’s hits “Numb,” “What I’ve Done,” “New Divide,” “Burn it Down” and many others.

Bennington passed away in July 2017 at the age of 41. He was found dead at his home in Los Angeles on July 20, 2017. The coroner declared that he took his life by hanging. Fans made the connection that his death occurred on Chris Cornell’s birthday, who also died by hanging in May 2017.

Months before his death, Bennington opened up about his struggles with mental health. “I don’t know if anybody out there can relate, but I have a hard time with life,” he explained in a radio interview in February 2017. “Sometimes it’s great, but a lot of times for me, it’s really hard. And no matter how I’m feeling, I always find myself struggling with certain patterns of behavior.”

Comparing being inside his head to being in a “bad neighborhood,” Bennington added that he struggled with patterns of negative self-talk. “I can’t be in there by myself,” he said of his mind. “It’s insane! It’s crazy in here. This is a bad place for me to be by myself. And so when I’m in that, my whole life gets thrown off.”

Despite his tragic death, Bennington was honored with many celebrations of life services. On October 27, 2017, his Linkin Park bandmates hosted the tribute concert, Linkin Park and Friends: Celebrate Life in Honor of Chester Bennington, at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles that brought together Blink-182, Korn, System of a Down, Avenged Sevenfold and more.

Tributes to Bennington weren’t confined by genre. Jay-Z performed his collaboration with Linkin Park “Numb/Encore” live many times after Bennington’s death. Coldplay’s Chris Martin, rapper Machine Gun Kelly and Imagine Dragons are among the artists who also paid homage to Bennington during their own concerts. At the 2018 Grammy Awards, rapper Logic teamed up with Khalid and Alessia Cara to perform his Grammy-nominated song, “1-800-273-8255,” in honor of Bennington and Cornell. The song is named after the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Linkin Park and Friends is the last time Linkin Park performed since Bennington’s death. In an April 2022 Twitch livestream, bandmate Mike Shinoda told fans that while the band was still in touch, Linkin Park had no plans to reunite.

“There’s no tours, there’s no music, there’s no albums in the pipeline,” he asserted, according to Blabbermouth. “So just keep in your minds that that is not happening. I’m just gonna say that much for now.”

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