Linkin Park’s Ben­ning­ton, Chris Cor­nell: Friends united in tragedy

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

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 Ra­ 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.

Ex-band­mates mourn

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.

— AP/AFP photos

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.

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