Chester Charles Bennington (March 20, 1976 – July 20, 2017) was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor. He was best known as the lead vocalist for Linkin Park. He was also lead vocalist for the bands Dead by Sunrise, Grey Daze, and Stone Temple Pilots. Bennington is widely regarded as one of the top rock musicians of the 2000s. Hit Parader magazine placed him at number 45 on their list of the "100 Metal Vocalists of All Time".Bennington first gained prominence as a vocalist following the release of Linkin Park's debut album, Hybrid Theory, in 2000, which became a commercial success. The album was certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America in 2005, making it the best-selling debut album of the decade, as well as one of the few albums ever to hit that many sales. Linkin Park's following studio albums, from Meteora (2003) to One More Light (2017), continued the band's success. Linkin Park has sold over 100 million records worldwide making them the best-selling band of the 21st century and one of the best-selling artists of all time.
Bennington formed his own band, Dead by Sunrise, as a side project in 2005. The band's debut album, Out of Ashes, was released on October 13, 2009. He became the lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots in 2013 to release the extended play record High Rise on October 8, 2013, via their own record label, Play Pen, but left in 2015 to focus solely on Linkin Park. He also appeared in cameo roles in several films, including Crank, Crank: High Voltage and Saw 3D.On July 20, 2017, Bennington was found dead at his home in Palos Verdes Estates, California. His death was ruled a suicide by hanging.
Bennington was found dead at his home in Palos Verdes Estates, California; his housekeeper discovered his body around 9:00 a.m. PDT on July 20, 2017. His death was ruled a suicide. Mike Shinoda confirmed his death on Twitter, writing, "Shocked and heartbroken, but it's true. An official statement will come out as soon as we have one". On July 21, Brian Elias, the chief of operations for the office of the medical examiner-coroner, confirmed that a half-empty bottle of alcohol was found at the scene, but no other drugs were present. The band announced that they had canceled the North American leg of their One More Light Tour following Bennington's death and that tickets would be refunded.
Bennington's funeral was held at South Coast Botanic Garden in Palos Verdes, California, on July 29. In addition to his family members and close friends, many musicians who toured or played with Linkin Park were also in attendance. The service also included a full stage for musical tributes. Bennington was cremated.
On December 5, 2017, Billboard magazine wrote that Bennington's toxicology report showed "a trace amount" of alcohol in the singer's system at the time of death.