Linkin Park’s Bennington, Chris Cornell: Friends united in tragedy
Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington killed himself on the birthday of his late friend Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, highlighting the close friendship between the two troubled singers. The coroner's office confirmed Friday that Bennington died by hanging himself, with an employee of his Los Angeles residence finding his body on a belt attached to his bedroom door. Bennington did not leave a suicide note but a half-empty bottle of alcohol was in the room when the employee arrived Thursday, the coroner's office said.
After the initial shock, a number of fans pointed out on social media that Thursday would have been the 53rd birthday of Cornell, who similarly died from hanging in May and like Bennington had spent his life combatting drug and alcohol problems. Bennington had toured with Cornell and sang Leonard Cohen's classic "Hallelujah" at his funeral. Linkin Park guitarist and songwriter Mike Shinoda, in an interview shortly after Cornell's death, said Bennington had been so affected that he could not keep his composure during a preconcert sound-check.
"Chester couldn't even make it through the song. He was getting halfway through and getting choked up," Shinoda told Radio.com. After Cornell's death, Bennington said that the singer "inspired me in many ways you could never have known." "Your talent was pure and unrivaled. Your voice was joy and pain, anger and forgiveness, love and heartache all wrapped up into one," he said in the tribute posted by Cornell's family on Facebook.
"I suppose that's what we all are. You helped me understand that," he said. Cornell's widow has cast doubt on whether the Soundgarden singer intentionally committed suicide, saying his judgment may have been impaired by his anxiety medication.
Move to name 'Linkin Park'
Bennington died days before Linkin Park was set to tour, with the band set to join other bands of its era including Blink-182 next week at the Citi Field baseball stadium in New York. Promoter Live Nation said Friday that the tour was canceled, with tickets to be refunded. Linkin Park was one of the key bands in the movement of nu metal, blending Bennington's angst-ridden, raw vocals with pop structure and rapping by Shinoda.
The band won a runaway success with its debut "Hybrid Theory," which became the top-selling album in the United States in 2001. Band lore said that the rockers, after testing a series of monikers, named themselves after Lincoln Park in Santa Monica, California, changing the spelling to stand out on the internet. In the wake of Bennington's death, a fan petition asked the sun-kissed city on the Pacific Ocean to change the spelling formally.
Petition leader Sarah Rose said she had listened to Linkin Park in middle school to cope with bullying. "For a large faction of people in my generation, Linkin Park's music helped those who felt alienated find voice and strength," she wrote to the city council on petition site Care2, quickly nearing her goal of 5,000 signatures. She noted that plenty of other monuments already stood to the park's original namesake-Civil War president Abraham Lincoln.
Among tributes to Bennington, baseball fans at the Los Angeles Dodgers stadium heard organist Dieter Ruehle play a rendition of one of Linkin Park's most recognizable songs, "Numb." Bennington had also known another major grunge singer, Scott Weiland, who died of an overdose in December 2015. Before Weiland's death, Bennington had temporarily taken over as frontman of his band Stone Temple Pilots.
While stunned members of Linkin Park were working on a band statement on Bennington's death, Stone Temple Pilots saluted him as "an incredible human being." "A beacon of light and hope is what you will always be to us," Stone Temple Pilots said in a statement. "We love you Chester. We will miss you.
A picture shows red roses and a picture of Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington laid in front of the US embassy in central Moscow in memory of Bennington.
Banners showing photographs of singer Chester Bennington, the frontman for the rock band Linkin Park, are displayed on the front of the Warner Bros.
In this file photo, Chester Bennington of Linkin Park performs during the iHeartRadio Live Series in Burbank, California.