Obituary: Linkin Park star Chester Bennington's hurt made beautiful music

Bennington on stage Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Bennington's friends have been responding to his unexpected death on social media

The angst-ridden vocals of Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington, who died aged 41 on Thursday, helped lead the group to global critical acclaim.

The frontman's brooding charisma - added to the group's blend of rap, metal and electronic music - spawned a string of chart-topping hits.

The son of a police officer in Phoenix, Arizona, Bennington was born on 20 March 1976 and had a troubled youth.

After years of intense drug use, he got sober and joined Linkin Park in 1998.

"Growing up, for me, was very scary and very lonely," he told Metal Hammer magazine in 2014.

"I started getting molested when I was about seven or eight," he said, describing the abuser as an older friend.

"I was getting beaten up and being forced to do things I didn't want to do.

"It destroyed my self-confidence. Like most people, I was too afraid to say anything.

"I didn't want people to think I was gay or that I was lying. It was a horrible experience," he told the magazine.

His parents divorced when he was 11 years old, and he went to live with his father, whom he described as "not emotionally very stable then", adding that "there was no-one I could turn to".

The singer quit hard drugs after a gang broke into a property where the future star was getting high and pistol-whipped some of his friends.

Bennington moved to Los Angeles and successfully auditioned to join Linkin Park.

Later in the 2000s, as the band's success took off, he again began using drugs before returning to sobriety, telling Spin Magazine in 2009: "It's not cool to be an alcoholic.

"It's not cool to go drink and be a dumbass.

"It's cool to be a part of recovery.

"Most of my work has been a reflection of what I've been going through in one way or another," he added.

Linkin Park was formed in 1996 and the band's 2000 debut album, Hybrid Theory, surfed the popular wave of nu-metal, Rolling Stone magazine writes.

It eventually sold more than 30 million albums and became one of the top-selling albums since the start of this millennium.

The band has sold 70 million albums worldwide and won two Grammy Awards.

Linkin Park had a string of hits including Faint, In The End and Crawling, and collaborated with rapper Jay-Z.

Their latest music video for the song Talking to Myself was released on Thursday, on the same day of the artist's death.

Bennington was said to be close to Sound Garden's Chris Cornell, who took his own life in May 2017.

Bennington sang at the funeral for Cornell, who would have turned 53 on Thursday.

In addition to working with Linkin Park, he also sang for Stone Temple Pilots, for his side project Dead by Sunrise, and Kings of Chaos.

Bennington leaves six children from two different marriages.


If you are affected by the topics in this article, the Samaritans can be contacted free on 116 123 (in the UK) or by email on jo@samaritans.org. If you are in the US, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255.

Related Topics

More on this story