Remembering Chester Bennington: 1976 – 2017

News broke today that musician and Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington has died. The 41-year old singer leaves behind his wife Talinda and six children.

Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Bennington’s difficult childhood led to teen years spent abusing drugs and alcohol, with Bennington eventually finding a healthy outlet through music. From 1993 until 1998, Bennington was the singer for local bands Sean Dowdell and His Friends? and later Grey Daze, a post-grunge rock group.

Frustrated with his lack of prospects after leaving Grey Dave in 1998, Bennington considered quitting music until an A&R manager suggested he audition for a group called Xero. Bennington moved his family to California after the audition, where he met Mike Shinoda, and the pair decided to rename the band to Linkin Park.

In 2000, Linkin Park’s debut album Hybrid Theory was released, with Bennington and Shinoda as the vocalists and songwriters. The album peaked at number two on the Billboard Chart and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Album. Pulling inspiration from his own tumultuous childhood, many of the songs written by Bennington focused on abuse and feelings of despair. With Shinoda’s rapping and Bennington’s vocal range, Linkin Park brought a new genre of metal and rap to the mainstream with their singles “In The End,” “Crawling” and “One Step Closer.”

In 2003, Linkin Park released their sophomore album Meteora, which included the singles “Breaking The Habit,” which won the MTV Viewers Choice Award, and “Somewhere I Belong,” which took home the MTV Award for Best Rock Video.

In 2004, Linkin Park teamed up with Jay Z to release Collision Couse, one of the most exciting albums of the year. Mashing up songs by both artists, the album was a stunning blend of power and emotion thanks to vocal arrangements that showed off Bennington’s vocals alongside Jay Z’s expert rap delivery. The project went on to win a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “Numb/Encore.”

Between 2007 to 2014, Linkin Park would release four more albums including Minutes to Midnight, A Thousand Suns, Living Things,and The Hunting Party, embarking on three world tours and two North American tours.

Starting in 2005, Bennington used his time off from Linkin Park to sing in the rock band Dead Sunrise, with the group releasing their debut album Out Of Ashes in 2009. In 2013, Bennington replaced singer Scott Weiland as the frontman for Stone Temple Pilots, releasing the EP Stone Temple Pilots With Chester Bennington in 2013. Bennington left the band in 2015 to focus on the next Linkin Park album, One More Light.

Continuing to push musical boundaries and explore new sounds, Linkin Park teamed up with artists Stormzy and Pusha T for the new disc, as well as singer Kiiara for their lead single. “Heavy” was released in February and followed with a video featuring patients in an addiction treatment group. The band debuted their seventh studio album One More Light on May 19 and recently wrapped the second leg of their One More Light World Tour in Europe. Linkin Park were scheduled to begin the American leg of the tour on July 27.

Just this past March, the frontmen stopped by Much, where Bennington alluded to how “having a hard time in life” and “struggling” leads to their most authentic songwriting and comradery.

Many fans and celebs have taken to social media to share their heartbreak over today’s news, including Bennington’s band mate and close friend, Mike Shinoda.

Literally the most impressive talent I’ve ever seen live! Vocal beast! #RIPChester #LinkinPark

A post shared by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on

I can’t believe this man….

A post shared by Questlove Gomez (@questlove) on

Last year I got to meet one of the most incredible musicians I’ve ever worked with. Every time I’d see him he had the biggest smile on his face and would make everybody in the room laugh. He had the brightest spirit and such a warm heart. He referred to me as a “cat” and could outsing anybody 🙂 today I am absolutely heartbroken. Chester, you will be missed. I didn’t know you for long but in the time that I did know you, you and the boys taught me what it meant to have fun in all the chaos, how to make everything lighter in the heaviest of situations, and to believe in myself because you guys believed in me. Thank you for the memories and I will carry them always. Rest In Peace Chester. Much much love. #chester sending you guys @m_shinoda and @braddelson so much love today

A post shared by Julia Michaels (@imjmichaels) on

This one really hurts. I spent most of my childhood pretending to be you. Rest easy Chester #TheSunWillSetForYou

A post shared by Pete Davidson (@petedavidson) on

I’m very sad about this. His music has brought me so much joy and help me vent so much teen angst. #RIP

A post shared by Taran Killam (@tarzannoz) on

Linkin Park and Bradford How, July 2001. Rest in peace, Chester.

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