Chester Bennington was the stuff of dreams. His music was the first introduction of a lot of millennials into rock music. The 41 year old musician and songwriter was the lead man of the rock band Linkin Park.
Linkin Park is an American rock band from California formed in 1996. The band rose to international fame when their debut album Hybrid Theory released in 2000 was certified Diamond by the RIAA in 2005 and multi-Platinum in several other countries.
Chester’s parents divorced when he was 11 years old, and his father gained custody of him. After the divorce, Bennington started abusing marijuana, alcohol, opium, cocaine, methamphetamine, and LSD. He eventually overcame his drug addiction, and would go on to denounce drug use in future interviews. During one Linkin Park tour, he started drinking heavily. In 2011, he claimed to have quit, noting, “I just don’t want to be that person anymore.”
In an interview, Chester Bennington revealed that he had suffered sexual abuse from an older male friend when he was seven years old. He was afraid to ask for help because he did not want people to think he was gay or lying, and the abuse continued until the age of 13. The abuse and situation at home affected him so much that he felt the urge to kill people and run away. To comfort himself, he wrote poetry and songs.
Bennington died of an apparent suicide by hanging. He was found by his housekeeper in his California home. His death brings an important discourse about mental health.
Not until recent times in Africa did people take importance in mental health and mental wellbeing. With all of the joy he brought people, all of the money he had, all of the clarity and relatability he brought to people, me inclusive, he was an unhappy person and for him to have resorted to ending it all.
You are a star.
Please talk to someone today. Ask them how they are. Buy them food. Just be there. Love is the most important thing.
Oluwatosin Adeshokan is a freelance journalist and writer reporting stories about West Africa. He was previously the Culture Editor for YNaija. He tweets at @TheOluwatosin