Entertainment

Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington dead at 41

Chester Bennington, lead singer of the California rock band Linkin Park, has died at the age of 41.

His California-based rock band was set to kick off latest tour next week, including dates in Toronto, Montreal

Chester Bennington, frontman of rock band Linkin Park, took his own life, according to a coroner's spokesperson. (Jordan Strauss/Invision for MTV/Associated Press)

Chester Bennington, lead singer of the California rock-rap group Linkin Park, has died at the age of 41, according to the Los Angeles County coroner.

The Phoenix-born singer and songwriter was found dead in his home near Los Angeles Thursday morning.

Linkin Park bandmate Mike Shinoda acknowledged Bennington's death on Twitter and said the band would release an official statement later.

"Shocked and heartbroken, but it's true," he wrote.

The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office spokesperson Ed Winter confirmed on Friday that Bennington hanged himself at his home. A half-empty bottle of alcohol was found in the room, but no drugs were evident, Winter said.

Bennington suffered sexual abuse as a child and struggled at times with drug and alcohol substance abuse, something he didn't shy away from talking about in interviews.

He said he started smoking pot at age 11, after his parents got divorced.

"It's cool to be a part of recovery. This is just who I am, this is what I write about, what I do, and most of my work has been a reflection of what I've been going through in one way or another," he said in a 2009 interview with Noisecreep. 

2-time Grammy winner

Linkin Park sold 10 million copies of their 2000 debut, Hybrid Theory, and then another four million with 2003's multiplatinum Meteora. Four of their seven albums have been number 1 on the Canadian albums chart; five of them topped the Billboard 200 in the U.S.

Their music explored feelings of frustration and fury. The band was also known for Collision Course, a mash-up collaboration with rapper Jay-Z and won Grammy Awards: in 2001 for Crawling and in 2005 for Numb/Encore.

Neil Portnow, the president and CEO of the Recording Academy (which puts the Grammys), called Bennington a cutting-edge vocalist and a "bona fide hard rock hero."

Chester Bennington (right), Paul McCartney (centre) and Jay-Z (left) perform at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards in 2006. (Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)

"His riveting stage presence made every live performance magnetic, earning him millions of fans around the globe," Portnow said in a statement. "We have lost a truly dynamic member of the music community."

Bennington stepped in as lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots in 2013, after the band kicked out frontman Scott Weiland. He left in 2015 to refocus on Linkin Park.

"I got to create and perform with one of the greatest rock bands of our generation, that had so much influence on me growing up," he said in a statement.

"With the amount of time STP deserves, in addition to being in Linkin Park, and with the needs of my family, one of them always seems to fall short."

Throughout his career, Bennington played in different bands, from Sean Dowdell and His Friends? to Dead by Sunrise, which he formed in 2005 to perform songs he felt didn't fit the Linkin Park vibe. Most recently, he toured with Kings of Chaos, a supergroup with members of Guns N' Roses, The Cult and Slipknot.

His dream as a kid was to be an actor on Broadway.

North American tour cancelled

Linkin Park cancelled its North American tour Friday, which was scheduled to begin touring next week. The slate was to include stops in Toronto and Montreal in August.

"We are incredibly saddened to hear about the passing of Chester Bennington. The Linkin Park One More Light North American Tour has been canceled and refunds are available at point of purchase. Our thoughts go out to all those affected," tour promoter Live Nation said in a statement.

Linkin Park released its seventh studio album, One More Light, in May and earned praise as well as criticism for a more pop-leaning sound.

The band's first single, Heavy, featured pop singer Kiiara and earned heavy radio play. The second single, Talking To Myself, was released Thursday morning, a few hours before Bennington's death was made public.

"We really want to be a band that kind of melts the walls of genres and kind of becomes its own thing that can't really be explained," Bennington said in a recent radio interview.

"What I love most about Linkin Park is it is like being in a new band every time we make a record."

Bennington is seen performing Hallelujah at the funeral for fellow rocker Chris Cornell at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles in May. (Chris Pizzello/Associated Press)

Also in May, Bennington performed Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah as a tribute to his close friend, rocker Chris Cornell, at the Soundgarden and Audioslave singer's funeral.

​Bennington was married and is survived by six children.

Rihanna, Nickelback remember  

Fellow musicians shared their condolences and memories of Bennington online.

Kiss guitarist Paul Stanley encouraged those who need help to "reach out" while pop star Rihanna recalled Bennington's impressive live performance, calling him a "vocal beast."

Jeff Stinco, whose Montreal band Simple Plan rose to fame around the same time as Linkin Park, said he was "devastated" about the news.

With files from The Associated Press

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