Linkin Park singer’s death shocks fans
Fans recall rock band’s popularity growing with repeated local visits
Shock and sadness gripped many young Chinese music fans on Friday after the apparent suicide of Chester Bennington, lead vocalist of the US rock band Linkin Park.
Bennington, 41, was found hanged in his home on Thursday in Los Angeles county in the US state of California.
Fans used social media to post hundreds of messages and some of the band’s songs, including In the End, Good Goodbye and Numb — hits in China.
“Chester Bennington RIP. I wanted to watch your performance again,” Wu Ruoya, 34, wrote on WeChat. “It’s so sad that you left and the band will never be complete.”
Wu had taken a train from Beijing to Shanghai to see Linkin Park in 2007. Wu said she paid around 1,000 yuan ($132 at the time) — big money for a recent graduate — to get a closer view of Bennington.
The band’s following in China grew after their songs were used in the 2009 film Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Linkin Park performed in the Chinese mainland three times, in 2007, 2009 and 2015, and visited Hong Kong four times between 2004 and 2013. They also performed in Taiwan.
The band, which started in 1996 in California, has won two Grammy Awards and sold more than 70 million albums worldwide.
“We had a great time in China. We’re looking forward to coming back and repeating that success and sharing our music with our massive fan base in China,” band members said ahead of their 2015 tour.
Fans in China also condemned child sex abuse, believed to have triggered Bennington’s depression. The singer had said in interviews that he was molested at age 7. He was also open about his struggle with alcohol and drugs. Bennington leaves six children from two marriages.
Zhao Yilin, 29, of Hunan province, said he first listened to the band as a teenager. He said he loves Linkin Park’s mix of rock, rap and electronic beats. Zhao flew to Hong Kong in 2013 to see them and bought the “most expensive” ticket available. “Bennington’s voice is unique. His music was so inspiring and powerful,” Zhao said.
The band’s latest album, One More Light, their seventh full-length studio album, was released in May.
Song Ke, CEO of Ali Music Group, a division of e-commerce giant Alibaba, said he was working for Warner Music China in 2001 when the company released Linkin Park’s debut album Hybrid Theory in the country. The album was promoted on campuses in Beijing.
“We noticed how many who were students back then have become die-hard fans of the band since,” he said.
The band toured five cities in China in the summer of 2015 as part of their world tour supporting The Hunting Party, their sixth studio album, released in June 2014. The band played in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chongqing and Xi’an.
According to YL Performance Investment Ltd, a Beijing-based company that promoted the 2015 China tour, more than 130,000 people saw the band on the tour.
Ticket sales pulled in more than 24 million yuan in a single day, said Xin Zi, a company executive.
Bennington was believed to be close to Chris Cornell, lead vocalist from US band Soundgarden, who in May committed suicide by hanging. Cornell would have turned 53 on Thursday.
Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington performs at Work- ers’ Stadium in Beijing during the band’s China tour in 2015. Bennington was found dead on Thursday.