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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Linkin Park's Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell: friends united in tragedy

A number of fans pointed out on social media that Thursday would have been the 53rd birthday of Cornell, who similarly died in May

Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington passed away at the age of 41. Kiko Huesca / EPA
Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington passed away at the age of 41. Kiko Huesca / EPA

Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington killed himself on the birthday of his late friend Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, highlighting the close friendship between the two troubled singers.

The coroner's office confirmed Friday that Bennington had died through a similar circumstance as Cornell. After the initial shock, a number of fans pointed out on social media that Thursday would have been the 53rd birthday of the Soundgarden frontman.

Bennington had toured with Cornell and sang Leonard Cohen's classic Hallelujah at his funeral.

Chester Bennington performed Hallelujah at a funeral for Chris Cornell earlier in the year. Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP File
Chester Bennington performed Hallelujah at a funeral for Chris Cornell earlier in the year. Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP File

Linkin Park guitarist and songwriter Mike Shinoda, in an interview shortly after Cornell's death, said Bennington had been so affected that he could not keep his composure during a pre-concert soundcheck.

"Chester couldn't even make it through the song. He was getting halfway through and getting choked up," Shinoda told Radio.com.

After Cornell's death, Bennington said that the singer "inspired me in many ways you could never have known."

"Your talent was pure and unrivalled. Your voice was joy and pain, anger and forgiveness, love and heartache all wrapped up into one," he said in the tribute posted by Cornell's family on Facebook.

"I suppose that's what we all are. You helped me understand that," he said.

Cornell's widow has cast doubt on whether the Soundgarden singer intentionally committed suicide, saying his judgment may have been impaired by his anxiety medication.

Move to name 'Linkin Park'

Bennington died days before Linkin Park was set to tour, with the band set to join other bands of its era including Blink-182 next week at the Citi Field baseball stadium in New York.

Promoter Live Nation said Friday that the tour was cancelled, with tickets to be refunded.

Linkin Park was one of the key bands in the movement of nu metal, blending Bennington's angst-ridden, raw vocals with pop structure and rapping by Shinoda.

The band won a runaway success with its debut Hybrid Theory, which became the top-selling album in the United States in 2001.

Band lore said that the rockers, after testing a series of monikers, named themselves after Lincoln Park in Santa Monica, California, changing the spelling to stand out on the internet.

In the wake of Bennington's death, a fan petition asked the sun-kissed city on the Pacific Ocean to change the spelling formally.

Petition leader Sarah Rose said she had listened to Linkin Park in middle school to cope with bullying.

"For a large faction of people in my generation, Linkin Park's music helped those who felt alienated find voice and strength," she wrote to the city council on petition site Care2, quickly nearing her goal of 5,000 signatures.

She noted that plenty of other monuments already stood to the park's original namesake — Civil War president Abraham Lincoln.

Ex-bandmates mourn

Among tributes to Bennington, baseball fans at the Los Angeles Dodgers stadium heard organist Dieter Ruehle play a rendition of one of Linkin Park's most recognisable songs, Numb.

Bennington had also known another major grunge singer, Scott Weiland, who died of an overdose in December 2015. Before Weiland's death, Bennington had temporarily taken over as frontman of his band Stone Temple Pilots.

While stunned members of Linkin Park were working on a band statement on Bennington's death, Stone Temple Pilots saluted him as "an incredible human being."

"A beacon of light and hope is what you will always be to us," Stone Temple Pilots said in a statement.

"We love you Chester. We will miss you.

* AFP