Death of Linkin Park frontman saddens Chinese fans

Updated 2017-07-21 10:44:57
(File photo) Chester Bennington of Linkin Park performs Burn It Down at the 40th American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California, November 18, 2012.

(File photo) Chester Bennington of Linkin Park performs "Burn It Down" at the 40th American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California, November 18, 2012.

Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington, whose screeching vocals helped the rock-rap band become one of the most commercially successful acts in the 2000s, was found dead in his home near Los Angeles on Thursday, the Los Angeles County coroner said. He was 41.

Coroner spokesman Brian Elias said authorities are investigating Bennington's death as an apparent suicide at Palos Verdes Estates, but no additional details are available.

Band co-founder and producer Mike Shinoda said on Twitter he was "shocked and saddened."

"Chester Bennington was an artist of extraordinary talent and charisma, and a human being with a huge heart and a caring soul. Our thoughts and prayers are with his beautiful family, his band-mates and his many friends," Warner Bros. Records CEO and Chairman Cameron Stang said in a statement.

The death of Bennington has shocked and sparked heated discussions on Sina Weibo, China's equivalent to Twitter. About 39 million posts discussing the death of the lead singer, who died of an apparent suicide on Thursday morning, have been made so far.

"We are all caught off our guard at our best times. I hope you will always be happy," wrote Weibo user FightingPHF.

"You have been with me throughout the decade when I was helpless and lost," wrote Weibo user MissWong.

"I still find it hard to believe that the voice that gave me the will to fight and the voice that led me from desperation to hope has chosen to bid goodbye to this world on his own. I hope you get what you wish for in the other world. Goodbye," wrote user Xinshang_Xinyu.

Linkin Park has met and performed for fans in China several times in the past. The largest tour in scale, and also the last one performed in China, was their stadium-level international rock tour in July, 2015, in which they played in cities including Nanjing, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Chongqing, and Beijing.

The Grammy Award-winning group sold more than 10 million copies of their 2000 debut, Hybrid Theory, which featured the megahit and anthem, In the End. They sold another 6 million with 2003's multiplatinum Meteora. Both albums explored feelings of frustration and fury.

The success helped Linkin Park become Billboard's No. 1 act of the decade for rock songs and alternative songs.

Bennington's voice could soar with piercing strength or descend to a whisper. Rolling Stone once called it a "shrapnel-laced howl that sounds like it comes from someone twice his size." The band also sold millions with its remix album, Reanimation, and its mash-up record with Jay-Z, Collision Course. They won Grammys for best hard rock performance in 2001 for Crawling and best rap/sung collaboration for Numb/Encore in 2005. Linkin Park was scheduled to begin its tour next week.

Bennington struggled with drug and alcohol addictions at various times during his life. He said he had been sexually abused as a child and was homeless for months before the band found fame.

Linkin Park released their most recent album, One More Light, in May. It was a CD that divided critics and fans alike for its embrace of moody pop. One song on the album, Heavy, opens with the words: "I don't like my mind right now." Although the band had always experimented with different sounds, some claimed Linkin Park had sold out, which Bennington denied. One More Light became the band's fifth No. 1 album debut on the Billboard 200.

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