PHOENIX (KSAZ) - The world of music in mourning, as Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington was found dead Thursday. Bennington, who grew up in the Valley, reportedly committed suicide in his home in California.
Besides growing up in the Valley and cutting his music teeth in the Valley's music scene, Bennington co-owned a tattoo parlor with six locations across the Valley and had a home in Gilbert with his family. The band he fronted, Linkin Park, was one of the most successful bands of the 2000s, rising to prominence with a rap/rock sound that helped the band sell more than 70 million records.
Besides his musical success, Bennington was also known to have a huge heart, having co-chaired the "Stars of the Season" fundraiser for Banner Children's. He would also visit with pediatric oncology patients while helping to raise money for the cause.
"It's just really great to see how it's becoming what the doctors and staff here have envisioned it to become," said Bennington, during an interview at Banner Children's in 2014. "I think it's even grown beyond what we could have possibly imagined."
The Banner Health Foundation released a statement about Bennington's death Thursday. It read ,in part:
"The Bennington Family has been exceedingly generous with their time and resources, signing autographs, visiting children in the hospital, donating artwork and CDs, and making our youngest patients feel special.
Linkin Park was set to perform in Mansfield, Mass on July 27, as a part of their "One More Light World Tour".
Locals remember Bennington
In Phoenix, Manny Moreno remembers being in school with Bennington, like it was yesterday.
"We were in this play together and we were both the leads, and he was the comic relief," said Moreno. "He was a very funny person, he was hilarious."
For Moreno and others around the world, Bennington's death was difficult. The band was schedule to perform at Phoenix's Talking Stick Resort Arena on August 30, as a part of their tour. In addition, Bennington was originally slated to do a reunion show with one of his first bands, the Gray Daze, at the Marquee Theater in Tempe.
"I was looking forward to that in September," said Moreno. "I got my tickets right here, just like the old days, Gray Daze show. I was so looking forward to hanging out with him, and so many people spanning the time here in Phoenix."
Moreno said news of Bennington's death was especially hard, when so many other big name musical acts seem to be taken too soon in recent years.
"Just the past few years, you name it," said Moreno. "Prince, you got one of Chester's big influences, Chris Cornell."
Moreno went on to say despite the demons Bennington battled, many would remember him as a man much different than the one people saw through his music.
"He was a father, a husband, a friend and an inspiration to many," said Moreno. "He was a man, a strong man that took this world by the horns."