Shinoda ‘Heartbroken’ at Death of Bandmate

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Linkin Park was led by Chester Bennington (left) and Mike Shinoda (right). They shared vocals for the act that became one of the most successful rock bands of the 2000s.

Linkin Park vocalist Mike Shinoda said he is “heartbroken” after news that singer Chester Bennington was found dead of an apparent suicide on Thursday at his Palos Verdes Estates home.

“Shocked and heartbroken, but it’s true,” Shinoda tweeted just after noon.

Bennington was a close friend of singer Chris Cornell of the rock bands Soundgarden and Audioslave. Cornell killed himself by hanging on May 18, and Bennington sang at his funeral.

Shinoda, whose vocal interplay with Bennington formed the core of the band’s music, explained the impact of Cornell’s suicide in an interview with Radio.com in May. Shortly after Cornell’s death, the band was to perform “One More Light,” a song about the loss of a friend, from their new album. “When we were doing a sound check Chester couldn’t even make it through the song, he was getting halfway through and getting choked up,” Shinoda said.

“And even when we did play the whole song, and it was live on TV, or taped for film for TV, he kind of just stopped like towards the end like he missed the last couple lines, just couldn’t finish the song.”

The Los Angeles County coroner on Friday confirmed that Bennington, 41, died by hanging.

Like Cornell, Bennington had long struggled with substance abuse, which began after his parents divorced when he was 11. The married father of six often spoke out against drug use in interviews. The band was set to go on tour starting July 27 in Boston, with dates stretching into the fall.

Fans took to Twitter to offer their condolences, with many saying his music had gotten them through tough times and others urging people to seek help if they have thoughts of suicide.

Linkin Park was founded in 1996 by Agoura High School classmates Shinoda, Rob Bourdon and Brad Delson. Bennington joined the band in 1999.

“Mentally preparing myself for Mike Shinoda’s post/statement because whenever it happens I know I will cry,” said Makayla Foschino on Twitter.

On Monday, the band posted a message on Facebook in the form of a letter to Bennington:

“Our hearts are broken. The shockwaves of grief and denial are still sweeping through our family as we come to grips with what has happened.

“You touched so many lives, maybe even more than you realized. In the past few days, we’ve seen an outpouring of love and support, both public and private, from around the world. Talinda and the family appreciate it, and want the world to know that you were the best husband, son, and father; the family will never be whole without you.

“Talking with you about the years ahead together, your excitement was infectious. Your absence leaves a void that can never be filled — a boisterous, funny, ambitious, creative, kind, generous voice in the room is missing. We’re trying to remind ourselves that the demons who took you away from us were always part of the deal. After all, it was the way you sang about those demons that made everyone fall in love with you in the first place. You fearlessly put them on display, and in doing so, brought us together and taught us to be more human. You had the biggest heart, and managed to wear it on your sleeve.

“Our love for making and performing music is inextinguishable. While we don’t know what path our future may take, we know that each of our lives was made better by you. Thank you for that gift. We love you, and miss you so much.”

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