On Thursday, Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington, 41, was found dead at his home in Southern California in an apparent suicide, according to authorities. It didn’t take long for fans to link the tragic news to another devastating event: The death of Soundgarden lead singer Chris Cornell, one of Bennington’s closest friends, who committed suicide almost exactly two months ago. Cornell would have turned 53 on Thursday.
At Cornell’s funeral service in May, Bennington performed Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Earlier, he posted an emotional note on social media that paid tribute to his friend.
“You have inspired me in many ways you could never have known. Your talent was pure and unrivaled. Your voice was joy and pain, anger and forgiveness, love and heartache all wrapped up into one. I suppose that’s what we all are. You helped me understand that,” Bennington wrote. “I can’t imagine a world without you in it. I pray you find peace in the next life. I send my love to your wife and children, friends and family. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life.”
— Chester Bennington (@ChesterBe) May 18, 2017
The two singers bonded when they toured together nearly a decade ago — Cornell opened for Linkin Park when they toured in Australia in 2007, and through 2008 with Projekt Revolution, Linkin Park’s multi-genre tour and music festival.
They often joined together on stage — Cornell collaborated with Linkin Park while they played their song “Crawling,” and Bennington showed up during Cornell’s set to sing a cover of Temple of the Dog’s “Hunger Strike.” When they performed on Cornell’s 44th birthday in July 2008, Bennington led the crowd in a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” for his friend.
In 2008, the pair sat down with Rolling Stone for a joint interview during the Projekt Revolution tour. “You guys are regarded as two of the greatest voices in rock. How much will you be watching what the other is doing onstage?” the reporter asked.
They both modestly deflected. “For me, I’m such a fan I think that’s the most important aspect of why I do what I do and how I do it. I’ve got to play with a lot of guys that I’ve grown up loving; I get to sing on stage with Chris Cornell. … I’m just like, ‘What world do I live in, ’cause this can’t be real?’ ” Bennington said.
On Thursday, Cornell’s wife, Vicky, paid tribute to Bennington:
Just when I thought my heart couldn't break any more…..I love you T
— Vicky Cornell (@vickycornell) July 20, 2017