It’s one of the most devastating coincidences in rock history. Friends Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell, two of the most talented and influential musicians of their generations, share July 20 in a heartbreaking way. It’s the day Cornell was born, and the day Bennington took his own life – two months after Cornell did the same.
A decade after Cornell and Soundgarden’s 1989 debut album, Louder Than Love, broadcast the Seattle scene to the world, Bennington and Linkin Park burst into the public consciousness with their first LP, Hybrid Theory. The style of music wasn’t the same, but the bands’ fans overlapped and the two frontmen became friends when they toured together in the mid-2000s. Two powerful voices even shared the stage at times, like on this memorable performance of Temple of the Dog’s “Hunger Strike.”
Cornell and Bennington shared more than just friendship, sadly. They both openly talked about conquering substance abuse and their battles with depression.
On May 18, 2017, just hours after Soundgarden performed at Detroit's Fox Theatre, Cornell, 52, was found dead in his hotel room. The medical examiner said he had prescription drugs in his system, including sedatives and anti-anxiety medications, but said they did not contribute to his death.
Days later, Linkin Park honored Cornell with an emotional performance of “One More Light” on "Jimmy Kimmel Live."
Almost exactly two months after Cornell died, Bennington, 41, was found dead in his Southern California home. He had filmed an episode of "Carpool Karaoke" less than a week earlier, and his family approved of the episode being aired later in the year.
The shocking deaths of two musicians who seemed to have overcome their demons through sobriety and family prompted RADIO.COM to launch our I’m Listening initiative. It aims to encourage those who are dealing with similar issues to understand that they are not alone.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression and thinking of suicide, know that someone is always there. Additionally, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-273-8255.