Alim Kheraj
Updated Jul 25, 2017 @ 12:24 pm
Mike Shinoda and Chester Bennington
Credit: Alexandra Wyman/AMA2012/FilmMagic

Fellow Linkin Park band member Mike Shinoda has shared an emotional throwback to Chester Bennington, and it’s breaking our hearts.

Following the sad passing of Bennington last week, many people have paid their respects to the late singer, including actor and 30 Seconds to Mars singer Jared Leto. Soon after the tragic news was announced, Shinoda took to Twitter to say simply that he was feeling “[s]hocked and heartbroken” by the what had happened. Many fans have also reflected on what Linkin Park and Bennington himself meant to them.

Now in a moving throwback post on Instagram, Mike Shinoda has shared the first photo of himself and Bennington.

The snap, which was taken in the late ’90s, captures the moment after Bennington joined the band.

“1997 or 1998…I think this was the first photo we ever took together. We had just told Chester that we wanted him to join the band,” Shinoda wrote.

“The band was called Xero at the time, and we probably had less than a half a dozen songs. No flame tattoos yet, no red hair yet, most of us were still in college.”

Along with that throwback image, Linkin Park also posted a gorgeous note paying tribute to the singer, and it had us in tears.

“Talking with you about the years ahead together, your excitement was infectious,” they wrote in a Facebook post. “Your absence leaves a void that can never be filled—a boisterous, funny, ambitious, creative, kind, generous voice in the room is missing. We’re trying to remind ourselves that the demons who took you away from us were always part of the deal. After all, it was the way you sang about those demons that made everyone fall in love with you in the first place. You fearlessly put them on display, and in doing so, brought us together and taught us to be more human. You had the biggest heart, and managed to wear it on your sleeve.”

The group have also launched a suicide awareness site, where users who are struggling can find information and support, as a well as read tributes to Bennington.

Like many, we’re heartbroken by Chester Bennington’s suicide. Hopefully, his death will encourage others to have more conversations about the impact of mental health problems and substance abuse. He will be so, so missed.

If you are thinking or have thought about suicide, if you are worried about someone you know, or if you just need someone to talk to, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or chat with their counselors online here. You can see more of their services here. All services are free and available 24/7.