THE late Chester Bennington, best known as the lead singer of Linkin Park, visited Cork on a few occasions and loved the county.
The talented singer was found dead at his home in Los Angeles on Thursday. He had experienced international success with the nu-metal band who first broke through in the nineties. He was also the lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots from 2013 to 2016.
Before he rose to prominence, Bennington befriended Cork band Cyclefly on the music circuit in Los Angeles and their friendship endured throughout the years.
Christian Montagne was the bassist in Cyclefly and is now in Midleton based band, Mako, along with former Cyclefly singer Declan O’Shea. He paid tribute to Bennington who he described as a “beautiful man” and an exceptionally talented musician.
“Chester, Declan and I were all friends. I’m gutted, to be honest,” said Mr Montagne.
“I have no words to describe the shock. We toured with him during the height of Linkin Park’s fame but we knew Chester way before that. We met when we were playing in bands in Los Angeles. At the time they didn’t have a record deal. He was a very talented musician and an exceptional artist.
“He was a lovely fella. He came to visit myself and Declan a few times in Cork and he stayed with us. He loved it here,” he added.
The 41-year-old singer had only released a new album with his band in May entitled ‘One More Light’, their seventh in a 17-year recording career, and had been active on social media in the days leading up to his death.
Bennington had sung at the funeral of his close friend Chris Cornell of Soundgarden in May after the singer was found hanged in Detroit.
“How do you pay tribute to such a beautiful man? There are just no words for it. I just try to understand what happened but it’s hard. We were only talking a few months ago so I can’t understand,” said Mr Montagne.
“It was his birthday on Thursday. Our sympathies just go out to his family and to his bandmates. Chester had six kids. It’s heartbreaking. We might dedicate a few songs to him when we play our next gig,” he added.