Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington hinted at his fragile mental state in dark lyrics on a recent Linkin Park single, only months before he took his life.
Bennington, 41, was found dead in an apparent suicide about 9am local time on Thursday [US time] at his home in Palos Verdes, near Los Angeles, leaving behind a wife and six children from two relationships.
A Los Angeles County Coroner’s office spokesman confirmed the death was being handled as an apparent suicide.
In another possible sign of the musician’s state of mind, his death came on what would have been the 53rd birthday of his friend and fellow musician Chris Cornell, who committed suicide in May this year.
A friend said Bennington was deeply affected and “never the same” after Soundgarden rocker Cornell died in May, RadarOnline reported.
“But everyone thought that he had it licked,” the friend reportedly said. “He seemed to be at a good place in his life. It is just so tragic and there are no words.”
Bennington performed Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah at the Soundgarden singer’s memorial in late May, and was also godfather to Cornell’s son Chris, 11.
The Cornell family said in a statement that they were overwhelmed by the news of Bennington’s death, while Cornell’s wife Vicky tweeted: “Just when I thought my heart couldn’t break any more.”
Bennington had a history of alcohol and drug abuse and had spoken openly in the past about his struggles to overcome his demons when Linkin Park first found success in 2000 with the album, Hybrid Theory.
In 2011 he said he had been sober for six years.
Heavy, a Linkin Park single released in February, appeared to hint at his mental state.
“If I just let go, I’d be set free,” Bennington chillingly sang in the chorus.
He wrote the track with bandmates Brad Delson, and Mike Shinoda, as well as Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter, The Sun reported.
Bennington had been struggling the day they wrote it, Shinoda previously told Billboard.
“I remember Chester walked in and it was, ‘Hey, how are you doing today?’ and he’s like, ‘Oh, I’m fine,’ and we were hanging out for a minutes and he was like, ‘Y’know what? I have to be honest. I’m NOT fine. I’m NOT OK. Too much stuff is just happening to me. I just feel underwater’,” Shinoda said.
“It was like that saying ‘when it rains it pours’. It’s that kind of feeling that stuff is piling up one on top of the other, and it creates this feeling of just being overwhelmed, like, ‘things feel so heavy to me’.”
Bennington had also opened up about being abused as a child.
“If I think back to when I was really young, to when I was being molested, to when all these horrible things were going on around me, I shudder,” Bennington said in a 2011 interview with a music website.
The group sold 10 million copies of Hybrid Theory in the US, and then another 4 million with 2003’s multi-platinum Meteora.
The band’s latest studio album, One More Light, was released in May, and Linkin Park embarked on a world tour.
Bennington’s death came a week before the band was due to kick off the US leg of its tour.
The band was reportedly blindsided by his death and had a photo shoot planned for later on Thursday, TMZ reported.
Fellow musicians have mourned Bennington’s death as news spreads of the tragedy.
Band OneRepublic wrote on Twitter: “Chester had 6 kids. If anyone out there thinks the world is better without you. You are so unspeakably wrong on every level. Get help plz.”
Oh dear God. Massive R.I.P to Chester Bennington of @linkinpark this BREAKS OUR HEART. Suicide is the devil on earth walking amongst us 😞
— OneRepublic (@OneRepublic) July 20, 2017
Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.