SANTA MONICA—A Linkin Park fan began a petition to rename Santa Monica’s Lincoln Park, after which the rock band is named, in honor of frontman Chester Bennington, who died on Thursday, July 20. The Care2 online petition, which asks the Santa Monica City Council to change the name of the park to Linkin Park, collected more than 20,000 online signatures by Monday, July 24.
The petition was posted by fan, Sarah Rose, after Bennington was reportedly discovered dead in his Palos Verdes Estates home, shortly before 9 a.m. on Thursday. On Monday, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office revealed his cause of death as suicide by hanging. He was 41.
“When I was a teenager, I brought a copy of Linkin Park’s Meteora CD insert with me every single day to middle school,” Rose indicated on the petition. “That record got me through being bullied and made fun of by what felt like everyone in my class. I would read the lyrics when I was teased or picked on.”
“For a large faction of people in my generation, Linkin Park’s music helped those who felt alienated find voice and strength,” Rose added.
The park, currently named Christine Emerson Reed Park, was originally named after Abraham Lincoln. In 1999, the band changed its name from Hybrid Theory to Linkin Park, an homage to the Santa Monica park. On the petition, Rose noted that Lincoln has numerous streets, counties, monuments, and buildings named after him.
“Let’s rename Santa Monica’s Lincoln Park to Linkin Park to honor Bennington’s contribution to music and the message he spread to all who listened to him: you are not alone,” Rose concluded on the petition.
On Monday, the members of Linkin Park released a statement honoring Bennington.
“Our hearts are broken. The shockwaves of grief and denial are still sweeping through our family as we come to grips with what has happened,” the band wrote. “You touched so many lives, maybe even more than you realized. In the past few days, we’ve seen an outpouring of love and support, both public and private, from around the world.”
The group added, “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.”
Bennington previously spoke of his struggles with drug and alcohol addiction, depression, and childhood trauma and abuse. The news of his suicide came two months after the death of his longtime friend, Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell, on what would have been Cornell’s 53rd birthday.
Linkin Park’s 2000 debut album, “Hybrid Theory,” introduced nu metal and rap metal to listeners and sold more than 4.8 million copies in its first year. The song “Crawling” won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance and was nominated for two other Grammy Awards. The band continued to explore different genres in their subsequent albums, including “Minutes to Midnight,” “A Thousand Suns,” “Living Things,” and “The Hunting Party.” Popular songs include “In the End,” “Numb,” and “What I’ve Done.”
Linkin Park has sold over 70 million albums worldwide and is considered one of the most influential rock bands of the century. The news of Bennington’s death came while the group was touring for their seventh studio album. On Friday, July 21, the band canceled the North American leg of the tour.
In addition to his work with Linkin Park, Bennington formed the band Dead By Sunrise in 2005 and performed with Stone Temple Pilots from 2013 to 2015. He is survived by his wife, Talinda Ann Bentley, their son Tyler Lee, twin daughters Lilly and Lila, and his three children from previous relationships.
To view the petition, visit here.