A Letter to Chester Bennington: 5 Years without the Man who Changed an Entire Generation | Rock & Art

A Letter to Chester Bennington: 5 Years without the Man who Changed an Entire Generation

This is a personal letter from a fan to their late idol, Chester Bennington

On 20th July 2017, the world said goodbye to one of the greatest singers of all time. The pain of losing Chester crossed the seven seas–fans from different parts of the world mourned when TMZ announced that the lead singer of Linkin Park had taken his own life. Even though Bennington’s lyrics had suggested that this might happen someday–at least according to anyone who paid a little bit of attention to his work–we always expected that he would be able to fight his depression and that music would save his life, in exactly the same way he saved us all so many times.

This piece, however, is not about how Linkin Park–and Chester–changed Rock music for the better by revolutionizing the music industry through mixing rock, hip-hop, and rap. 

A Letter to Chester Bennington: 5 Years without the Man who Changed an Entire Generation | Rock & Art

Keep me in your memory, leave out all the rest

For me, personally, Linkin Park was always more than a band. They were a friend that I had never met, but was always there, saving me from my own thoughts. The first time I listened to the band was in 2003, right after the release of their second album, “Meteora”. It was love at first sound. I remember learning English while listening to the songs and as I say even today, the moment I knew I could speak English was the day that I sang “Faint” without reading the lyrics. 

I remember sitting in the back of my dad’s car and listening to “Live in Texas” on my old discman over and over again, almost wishing that Chester could get out of the device and sit right next to me. Linkin Park was so important to me that I got their logo tattooed on my arm, so I can never forget that Chester and the band saved my life so many times in a row.

A Letter to Chester Bennington: 5 Years without the Man who Changed an Entire Generation | Rock & Art

With that being said, imagine my reaction when my friend Diego called me to break the news of Chester’s death. I remember I was at a bar with my lovely dad and I burst into tears. I told him that I wasn’t feeling very well and I remember, as if it were right now, that I almost fainted. It was unbelievable, inconceivable and I thought at the time, probably a lie, so I started checking every social media looking for an explanation. That’s when I read band member Mike Shinoda’s words. “Shocked and heartbroken, but it’s true,” he wrote, “an official statement will come out as soon as we have one.”

That broke my heart in a million pieces. Like I said before, Chester was more than my favorite singer. He was an ‘imaginary-not-so-imaginary’ friend who helped me in so many ways. Even though I was mad at him for doing it, I actually understood why he did it.

To Chester

So, to you Chez, I say: 

I get it. I truly get it. This world is filled with so much cruelty. People are cruel to each other for no reason whatsoever, they kill, they betray each other and still sleep well at night. I don’t know what kind of demons you were fighting, but I understand your desire for a little peace. I think all of us have had moments wondering what it feels like on the other side, if it is as beautiful and peaceful as this paradise we picture in our minds. We are all broken inside, you know. We live in despair all the time, wondering what else we could do differently. We try to live our lives in ways that we don’t actually like, working 24 hours a day to get less money than we expected, missing our kid’s childhood or even that concert we always wanted to go to. That’s not a life, that’s a prison. So, yes, I understand that you may have wanted to run away from everything. After all, we’re a broken people living under loaded gun.

Sometimes I catch myself thinking if this life is enough for me or if I’m living in a dream, meaning, I’m fantasizing a life I’ll never get. I think of myself as a humble person, therefore watching acts of hatred and destruction actually pains me. I wonder: how is it like where you are? Can you feel the peace you were longing for? How are you feeling right now? I know that your heart probably aches for another look on your family and friends and I know for sure that you miss all the love your fans gave you in every single show. 

Chester Bennington.

I went to only two Linkin Park concerts in my entire life, so I had the opportunity to see your performance live and I can tell you without a doubt that you gave it your all. You gave your soul away to music and I thank you for that. If I had the chance to meet you, I would tell you exactly this: thank you for existing and for sharing your heart within your songs. Thank you for saving my life, for being here when no one else was. Thank you for creating such an amazing atmosphere in every show and for caring so deeply for your fans, that we felt your love from everywhere. Thank you for trying for so many years, even though it hurt you. I miss you and will never forget you. In time, happy birthday! 

(In) The End. 


On February 10th, 2023, Linkin Park released a brand new song, “Lost”, from the “Meteora” album. It is a demo that no one has ever listened to before and it is the first time since their last album, “One More Light”, released in 2017, that the band has sought to share new music with their fans. Check it out at linkinpark.com or by watching the video below: