Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington has died by suicide. TMZ reports that the singer hanged himself in a private residence in Palos Verdes Estates in Los Angeles. He was home alone at the time — his family was out of town. He was found this morning by an employee. Bennington was 41.
Bennington was born in Phoenix, and he survived sexual abuse as a child. As a teenager, he had issues with drug dependency. He formed the grunge band Grey Daze in 1993, and he released three albums with the band before leaving in 1998. In 1999, he auditioned to join Linkin Park after original lead singer Mark Wakefield left the band, which was then known as Xero. Linkin Park eventually signed with Warner Bros., and their debut album Hybrid Theory came out the following year.
Hybrid Theory was an absolute monster of an album, an era-definer. Coming out into a crowded nü-metal landscape, Linkin Park brought clean production, soaring hooks, and a Depeche Mode/Nine Inch Nails-esque sense of theatrical brood. The juvenile temper-tantrum side of nü-metal was still there in Linkin Park, especially in breakout single “One Step Closer,” but they also strived for arena-sized catharsis in a way that few of their peers managed. It paid off. Hybrid Theory was the best-selling album of 2001, and it went on to sell 30 million copies worldwide.
Linkin Park released a few more massively successful albums, and for a while, everything they touched seemed to turn to gold. Collision Course, the 2004 album of “mash-up” collaborations that they recorded with Jay-Z, wasn’t exactly good, but it was better than it had any right to be. Bennington also formed the side project Dead By Sunrise with former Orgy members and released a debut album in 1999. Bennington also joined Stone Temple Pilots as a replacement for Scott Weiland in 2013; he sang with the band on one EP and continued touring with them for two years. And Linkin Park continued to tour and record, quietly selling many millions of albums and concert tickets. Their last album was One More Light, which came out just a few months ago.
Bennington leaves behind six kids and a wife. He was good friends with Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, who also took his own life earlier this year. It would have been Cornell’s 53rd birthday today. Bennington sang “Hallelujah” at Cornell’s memorial back in May. His fiery wail has never been a cool thing, but it was huge and intense and human, and it made a lot of kids feel like he was speaking for them. Check out some of his videos below.
— LINKIN PARK (@linkinpark) July 20, 2017