Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington, who screamed his way through a hugely successful career as a hard rock/hip-hop/rap artist, was found dead in his home near Los Angeles on Thursday, according to multiple news reports. He was 41.
TMZ is reporting that law enforcement sources say the singer hanged himself, and the site made note of the fact that he did so on what would have been his friend Chris Cornell’s 53rd birthday. Cornell, who was the lead vocalist for Soundgarden, took his own life by hanging himself in May.
Like Cornell, Bennington struggled with drug and alcohol addictions at various times during his life. TMZ also noted Bennington had said in the past that he had considered killing himself because he had been abused as a child by an older male.
Bennington performed a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” at Cornell’s funeral service on May 27. He also penned this emotional open letter to Cornell:
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Linkin Park has not issued an official statement regarding Bennington’s death, although co-founding member Mike Shinoda tweeted this just after 3 p.m. EST on Thursday:
Meanwhile, Warner Bros. CEO and Chairman Cameron Stang said in a statement: “Chester Bennington was an artist of extraordinary talent and charisma, and a human being with a huge heart and a caring soul. Our thoughts and prayers are with his beautiful family, his band-mates and his many friends.”
The group sold 10 million copies of their 2000 debut, “Hybrid Theory,” then another 4 million with 2003’s multiplatinum “Meteora.” Both albums explored feelings of frustration and fury.
Earlier this year, Linkin Park had announced it would return to Charlotte’s PNC Music Pavilion for a headlining show on Thursday, Aug. 17, although it’s almost certain the tour – which had been set to launch next Thursday in Mansfield, Mass. – will be halted.
The band was last in Charlotte in August 2014. Here’s an excerpt from the Observer’s review of the concert:
“Linkin Park used no gimmicks on Tuesday night.
“Bennington came out wearing a denim-colored button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up, untucked over jeans (the shirt later came off). Mike Shinoda, the band’s rapper/guitarist/keyboardist/producer, wore a tank top over a tee shirt, black jeans, glasses and a ballcap he alternated between backwards and forwards.
“And all they did was play. Hit after hit after hit after hit after hit.
“If you know the venerable band, you know its unique, time-tested formula: Bennington, now 38, sings tuneful rock melodies, but regularly tears into guttural, throat-shredding growl-screams; Shinoda, 37, plays keys or guitar and jumps in routinely with a crisp, bold rap, flinging his axe behind him so it hangs low as he rhymes, whipping his hand up and down with bravado. ...
“Bennington’s ability to do so much growl-screaming without turning his vocal cords into mush defies logic, in addition to the laws of physiology. It’s almost like his voice is a superpower, like he should be wearing a cape – or something.”
Bennington is survived by wife Talinda Ann Bentley and their three children, along with three other children.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.