Chester Bennington, lead singer of nu metal pioneers Linkin Park, is dead from an apparent suicide at the age of 41. The website TMZ broke the news earlier today, saying: "Law enforcement sources tell us the singer hanged himself at a private residence in Palos Verdes Estates in L.A. County. His body was discovered Thursday just before 9 AM.” Fox News later confirmed the story with the Los Angeles County Coroner.
Chester Charles Bennington was born in Phoenix Arizona on May 20, 1976. In interviews he spoke of being sexually molested by an older male from the ages of 7 to 13. He began experimenting with drugs at an early age, and described himself as a “raging alcoholic” in later years, though claimed to have gotten sober in 2011.
Bennington joined Linkin Park in 1999. Their fusion of metallic guitars, hip hop rhythms and emo vocals found immediate favor. The band would go to release seven albums altogether, selling 70 million copies and winning two Grammy Awards in the process. However, their latest album, One More Light, which was released only two months ago, met criticism that the band had sold out their nu metal roots for a modern pop makeover. In a recent interview with Music Week, Bennington lashed at fans and critics. “If you’re saying we’re doing what we’re doing for a commercial or monetary reason, trying to make success out of some formula… then stab yourself in the face!” The band actually debuted the video for the song “Talking To Yourself” earlier today, before news of Bennington’s death broke.
In a series of eerie coincidences, Bennington was good friends with Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell, who himself committed suicide by hanging just two days before the release of One More Light, on May 17. He was distraught following the singer’s death and sang at his memorial service. Today, July 20, would have also been Cornell’s 53rd birthday. From 2013 to 2015, Bennington sang for his grunge heroes Stone Temple Pilots, whose troubled singer Scott Weiland died from a drug overdose in 2015. Bennington was married twice and leaves behind six children.