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A Tribute to Chester Bennington

On July 20 2017 the news of Linking Park’s front man Chester Bennington’s death shocked the music world, especially the fans of rock music. His relatives found him dead at his home in Los Angeles and later on, authorities declared that the singer had taken his own life. The fans of the band while shocked, connected his death to his struggles with depression.

Those who have followed the band’s rise to fame and in particular Bennington’s career know the problems that he was facing for many years prior to his death. Bennington himself opened up for his struggles with mental illness on an interview, few months before his suicide. When describing his career and problems he was facing, he said: “Sometimes it’s great, but a lot of times for me, it’s really hard. And no matter how I’m feeling, I always find myself struggling with certain patterns of behavior.”

The last years of his life were particularly hard, however his hardships track way back to his childhood and tough upbringing. The first horrible event he experienced is sexual abuse at the age of seven. “Like most people, I was too afraid to say anything. I didn’t want people to think I was gay or that I was lying. It was a horrible experience.” he told Metal Hammer magazine. This incident, he claimed, destroyed his confidence. Adding to his traumatizing experience, came the toxic relationship between his parents. They eventually, divorced when he was eleven.

As a result, in his early teenage years, Chester started abusing substances and alcohol. By the time he moved in to live with his mother, he had developed a heavy methamphetamine and cocaine habit. At the age of seventeen, his mother caught him doing drugs and chased him out of her house. “My mom said I looked like I stepped out of Auschwitz. So I used pot to get off drugs. Every time I’d get a craving, I’d smoke my pot.” he recalled in another interview.

Although Bennington was having a few very hard teenage years, he never stopped dreaming of becoming a rock star. He joined a band called Gray Daze as their vocalist in 1993. The band managed to built a fairly large fan base in Phoenix, but a few years later Chester left them due to creative differences and misunderstandings.

In 1999 he moved to Los Angeles where he joined the other members of Linkin Park. They were not called like that at the time, and it is Bennington who actually came up with the name. The music he made with Linkin Park, helped him a lot. He quit drugs, felt better and by the late 2000s he was free of drugs and completely sober. His creativity exploded and together with the other members of the band, he achieved greatness in the music industry.

What’s remarkable for Chester Bennington is that even if when he became a prominent icon in the rock scene, he always remained grounded. In 2016, Bennington told Metal Hammer, “The idea that success equals happiness pisses me off. It’s funny to think that just because you’re successful you’re now immune to the full range of the human experience.”

After his death, his friends and family tried to raise awareness about mental health and suicide. To this day, his death is brought as an example of the consequences of long term depression, drug abuse and how important it is to speak out and ask for help when it is necessary.

Chester Bennington in concert

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