The tragic passing of Chester Bennington on July 20th, 2017 was an unimaginable tragedy.
His musical legacy as the frontman of Linkin Park and Stone Temple Pilots was undoubtedly immense, but the ramifications of Bennington succumbing to his own personal demons before he could get help shook the world of music at a deeper level.
The singer was 41, and had spent a significant portion of his life being open about his struggles with addiction and depression. Despite that, those around him were shocked by his suicide.
The months leading up to his death saw a wave of ups and downs. The death of his good friend Chris Cornell impacted Bennington, but earlier in the year Linkin Park’s latest album One More Light was topping the charts.
A month before he died, Chester Bennington was sending hour-by-hour messages describing his battle with addiction to his good friend Ryan Shuck who he knew from his side project Dead By Sunrise.
“…it doesn’t take much when you’re that advanced an alcoholic and an addict and you’re battling to the extent he described to me. You don’t need much to lose your mind for a minute,” said Shuck.
Bennington was best known for his work with Linkin Park, the band he joined in 1999 while they were still calling themselves Xero.
After he and Mike Shinoda managed to convince Warner Bros. Records to back their vision for a hip hop/rock fusion style record, they released debut album Hybrid Theory on October 24th, 2000.
The album catapulted Linkin Park into the mainstream consciousness, winning a Grammy, becoming the best selling album of 2001 and including formative singles like ‘Crawling’ and ‘One Step Closer’.
Their follow up records Meteora and Minutes To Midnight were both commercial successes as well, while Hybrid Theory was certified Diamond by the RIAA in 2005.
Bennington’s impact on music was immense, with his work with Dead By Sunrise and Stone Temple Pilots also helping to compile a significant legacy.
Billboard’s Dan Weiss wrote in 2017 that Bennington “turned Nu-Metal universal”.
His death was felt around the industry, with musical tributes flowing in the months after his passing. For those like me, whose formative years were soundtracked by the likes of Linkin Park, Bennington will always be one of the greats.
The band are continuing to live up to his legacy today. Over the weekend Linkin Park issued a cease and desist letter to get a pro-Trump video removed from Twitter.
Bennington once famously called Trump “a greater threat to the USA than terrorism.”