Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington died early Thursday morning of apparent suicide by hanging in his home in Rancho Palo Verdes, CA. He was 41.
His death comes two months after Bennington’s close friend Chris Cornell, frontman of Soundgarden and Audioslave, committed suicide by hanging. Today would have been Cornell’s 53rd birthday.
Linkin Park rose to fame in 2000 with the release of Hybrid Theory, which introduced the world to Bennington’s emotional screaming vocals. Complimented by co-frontman Mike Shinoda’s hip hop style, the unique sound of the Linkin Park set them apart from other acts of the new millennium.
The lyrics put forth by the band cut deep into the minds of their avid fans, touching on subjects like depression, addiction, anger, suicide, and other volatile matters. Bennington himself professed that personal experiences helped shape the lyrics, having suffered through addiction, violence, and sexual abuse at a young age.
While the words that are often sung by bands can be impersonal and uncorrelated, Linkin Park’s emotional output always felt deep and true to the core of who they were as people. A listener only needs to return to the sounds of “One Step Closer,” “Numb,” “Crawling,” “Breaking The Habit,” or “In The End” to feel the draw that Linkin Park had with their lyrics.
Bennington’s struggles and pain became our own and vice versa through the lyrics and notes of their songs. While later works by the band were not as successful, they continued to have dedicated fans because of the emotional connection forged in the days of Hybrid Theory, Meteora, and Minutes to Midnight.
Bennington’s death leaves behind a wife, six children, a band without a co-frontman, and millions of fans who will miss his vocal and lyrical genius. We will remember the influence he had on our lives and will listen to his music long after today passes into the shadows.