Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington was found dead in his Southern California Thursday morning by apparent suicide by hanging. While fans around the world mourn Bennington’s passing, here is an inside look at his tragic life and death.
Bennington battled depression and drug use in the years leading up to his death. The singer even alluded to suicide this past February in the track, “Heavy.”
After singing about the feeling of depression, Bennington foreshadowed his death, saying: “If I just let go, I’d be set free.” Unfortunately, Bennington’s struggles began as a young man.
Bennington’s parents divorced when he was only 11-years-old. His father’s career as a cop only made things worse.
In 2002, Bennington revealed that his dad, who worked in the sex crimes division, often brought his work home, which only desensitized him as a kid.
He was also sexually abused as a young boy, though not by any member of his own family.
“No one in my family molested me,” he shared. “It was people who were around me. Coming from a broken home, it was easy to fall into thinking, ‘This is OK.’”
The Linkin Park singer started using drugs and alcohol after he turned 13. He battled drug addiction his entire life and admitted that they helped him feel more confident. Bennington’s favorite drugs were alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine, and LSD.
“I lived on alcohol. It was either beer, or Jack and Coke, or Jack Daniels in a pint glass with ice. And then it got to the point where my wife said to me about seven months after we got together, she goes, ‘I don’t think there’s been a day since I’ve known you that you haven’t drank.’ And I was like, ‘What are you talking about?” he explained. “That’s crazy’—as I’m drinking a Jack and Coke. That was where my life went.”
As if dealing with drug addiction wasn’t enough, Bennington also experienced a lot of heartbreak. In 1996, Bennington tied the knot with Samantha Olit.
The couple had one child together before divorcing in 2005. Shortly after his split, Bennington revealed that a lot of the inspiration for his songs come from his personal struggles.
Things started getting better, however, after Bennington married Talinda Bentley. The two had three kids together and he started to really turn his life around. Everything changed when Bennington’s depression resurfaced in 2015 after he broke his leg.
According to New York Times, Bennington’s depression kicked into high gear after the death of his close friend and fellow rocker, Chris Cornell.
The Soundgarden frontman committed suicide by hanging back in May. Bennington took the death hard, and offered his heartfelt condolences on social media.
“I can’t imagine a world without you in it,” he said. “I pray you find peace in the next life.”
Despite Cornell’s passing, Bennington was optimistic about what 2017 might bring. In fact, a few weeks ago, he sounded excited for Linkin Park’s upcoming album and admitted that his life was going great.
“Where I’m at right now in 2017 is as far on the opposite side of the scale to where I was at this time in 2015,” he stated. “I literally hated life and I was like, ‘I don’t want to have feelings.’ And now I’m like, ‘Bring it on!’”