Linkin Park singer died on birthday of friend Cornell

New York (AFP) –


Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington apparently killed himself on the birthday of his late friend Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, leading fans Friday to examine the two singers' close friendship.

The 41-year-old Bennington, who like Cornell had long suffered alcohol and drug problems, was found hanging at his Los Angeles home on Thursday.

After initial shock, a growing number of fans on social media pointed out that Thursday would have been the 53rd birthday of Cornell, who similarly died from hanging in May.

Bennington had toured with Cornell and performed at his funeral, singing Leonard Cohen's classic "Hallelujah."

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

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

In a tribute penned after Cornell's death, Bennington said he was weeping "with sadness, as well as gratitude, for having shared some very special moments with you and your beautiful family."

"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," 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 clouded by his anxiety medication.

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.

Linkin Park was one of the key bands in the movement of nu metal, blending Bennington's angry, growling voice with pop structures 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.

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

And hip-hop duo Run The Jewels opened a performance on late-night show "Jimmy Kimmel Live" by dedicating a song to Bennington.