In the days and hours that have passed since, the AltWire staff have found ourselves struggling to find the right words to describe the impact of this tragic loss. Many of us, through our social media and conversations among friends, have pointed to moments in our lives where Chester’s words and emotional vocals carried us through our darkest moments and gave us the comfort of knowing we were truly not alone. While many music websites have undoubtedly already paid tribute, the immense shock from his sudden passing, had left us unable to form words, until now.
As we struggle to understand the demons that took Chester away from us, we are reminded of the fact that if it weren’t for Chester and the rest of Linkin Park, many things in our life – including AltWire – would’ve never come to be. In fact, if it weren’t for a fateful performance on Sept. 4, 2013, the website you’re reading this on would have never been created.
I’ve been following Linkin Park since their Hybrid Theory days in 2001, when I opened a fan community for the band that is still active 16 years later. In September of 2013, I followed Chester to the Bethlehem Sands Casino Resort in Pennsylvania and watched him perform to absolute perfection as the new lead of Stone Temple Pilots. I was inspired and excited by what the future held. I knew reporting on music was something I wanted to make my passion.
That night, I went home and sketched ideas for what would become AltWire, an alternative music website I would launch with my father later in October of that year.
While our website has taken many twists and turns since that time and now covers a much wider range of music, if it weren’t for Chester and the early support of Linkin Park (Mike Shinoda gave us our first interview), our vision and our website wouldn’t even exist. The incredible opportunities and friends I’ve met through my Linkin Park community and AltWire would have never came into my life and I believe both strongly and passionately that I would be a completely different person.
And this is a message that has been echoed by so many people in the entertainment industry, the media and the Linkin Park fan-base. Marriages have started, bands have been formed and lifelong friendships have been created all out of a shared love for this talented soul who left us way too soon.
But perhaps that is one of Chester’s most enduring legacies. Even in death, his impact and benefit on others can still be felt in our day-to-day lives. For instance, in the week since his death, multiple Linkin Park fan communities such as The Linkin Park Association, Linkin Park Live and The Linkin Park Fan Corner have come together to reach out to fans who may be struggling or suffering with demons similar to what Chester battled every day. Fans who felt they had lost their guiding voice with the loss of their icon have found that their fellow fans and partners-in-mourning are reaching out to offer a virtual hug and to let them be heard. Thousands of dollars have been donated to suicide awareness charities in addition to the numerous memorials, candlelight vigils and meet-ups that Linkin Park fans have organized.
As for the future of AltWire, we will continue to push on and make this site the absolute best that it can be. While many of us are feeling like that incredible, iconic voice is gone, we know that the best tribute to someone who has inspired you is to become the best you can be.
We will carry on. Chester: We’ll make it count. Your family, band and friends are in our thoughts and to them we send our deepest condolences.
Rest in peace our dear friend, and thank you for everything.
“May your love never end, and if you need a friend, there’s a seat here alongside me…” – Linkin Park, ‘Roads Untraveled’
PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR LINKS TO OUR PREVIOUS COVERAGE ON CHESTER:
If you are feeling suicidal, know that there are people out there who care for you and want to help. Please call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) to be connected to a trained counselor at a suicide crisis center nearest you.