The shocking news of Chester Bennington’s suicide is just beginning to sink in, leaving us with a lot more questions than answers along with endless heartache. The Linkin Park frontman battled addiction and depression throughout his life, but at least by outward appearances he seemed to be doing better these days. Linkin Park also remained a huge commercial force in the rock world and were on the verge of launching a tour that was going to take them to stadiums and arenas all over America on bills with Blink-182, Wu-Tang Clan and Machine Gun Kelly.
Bennington was extremely close friends with Chris Cornell. He was the godfather to his children and sang Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” at his funeral in May. “You have inspired me in many ways you could never have known,” Bennington wrote to him in an open letter after his death. “Your talent was pure and unrivaled. Your voice was joy and pain, anger and forgiveness, love and heartache all wrapped up into one. I suppose that’s what we all are. You helped me understand that.” We can only speculate why Bennington decided to commit suicide today, but it would have been Cornell’s 53rd birthday.
In the summer of 2008, Chris Cornell and Linkin Park toured together as part of the Projekt Revolution tour. Here’s video of them singing “Hunger Strike” at Atlanta’s Lakewood Amphitheatre. The song appeared on Temple of The Dog’s sole album in 1991, which was a tribute to the late Andy Wood of Mother Love Bone. Those moving songs took on a whole new meaning after Cornell’s tragic death, and watching him joyfully sing it with Bennington back in happier days is almost unbearable today.