Chester Bennington, the lead singer of the multi-chart-topping Linkin Park, took his own life by hanging today. Uncoincidentally, on the day of his good friend Chris Cornell‘s  birthday. Bennington performed at Chris’s funeral and dedicated this tribute to him a few months ago:

A quote from a recent interview with Chester regarding aging as a musician:

I think that if you focus on something like that, it becomes a problem. But we don’t really think about that. What helps us stay relevant is that we haven’t really set out on this musical experience to reach a destination. We consider the whole thing a journey. So it’s not like we stopped off at Rock Island and now we’re stranded there. We actually just get onboard the boat and let the winds take us where it will. And each time it’s at a new place, and we land at a new destination. And I think that because we’re fearless about what kind of sounds and songs we create, we’re able to be more malleable to people’s tastes and what people’s interests are.

This music video was released moments before Chester’s body was found. The lyrics are quite chilling and ominous, being sung from the perspective of his wife regarding his substance abuse. I didn’t fully the realize the extent of the underlying pain in many of Linkin Park’s songs until now.

I’m shocked and lost for words. I’ve had Hybrid Theory, Reanimation, and Meteora playing on repeat all throughout college. Everyone knew how to scream along with Chester and headbang to all the words. When I wanted to drown out the noise, relieve some stress, or just pump iron, I pop in a Linkin Park CD. They went on to experiment with various musical styles and sold over 70 million albums worldwide. They remained relevant throughout the years and recently released their more pop/electronic-oriented One More Light on May 2017, which included their first female vocalist. In addition, their hit singles “Numb” and “In the End” were the only two songs from the same band that made it to Spotify’s 30 Most Timeless Songs of All Time.

The synergy between Mike Shinoda and Bennington is undeniable and encompasses every song. Likened to two sides of a brain. Each song was a story told in its rawest and unadulterated form. They ensured there was always something their fans could resonate with and appreciate them for. As heartbreaking as it is, without Chester’s unmistakble vocal talent and drive, there is no Linkin Park. However, Chester left behind immortalized gifts for all of us. Being the first rock band to reach a billion views on YouTube, the musical influence Chester has had on the world cannot be understated.

This is another somber day for rock and music. You will be missed.