Ann Wilson’s Final Conversation With Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington

In the music industry, where emotions become melodies, a dark presence sometimes looms. It is the painful struggle with mental health. The world mourned when Chris Cornell tragically passed away. His death hit his best friend Chester Bennington especially hard so much so that even Ann Wilson‘s guidance wasn’t enough to help him overcome the pain.

The Soundgarden frontman was always honest about his battles with depression and isolation. In some sense, Chester, who had also publicly discussed his struggles with anxiety and depression, bonded over their everyday fights with their inner thoughts. So, when Chris tragically took his own life in 2017, it impacted Bennington more than most people realized.

The bond between Chris and the Wilson sisters, Ann and Nancy, ran deep. During the ’90s, the singer often jammed with the Heart sisters at their Seattle home. They were so close that, in 2013, Cornell had the honor of inducting Heart into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. So Chester sought to talk to Ann a few weeks after Chris’ passing since he knew the significance she held in Cornell’s life.

Ann opened up to Rolling Stone about her last conversation with the late musician. Although Wilson had recognized his anxiety, sadness, and fear surrounding his best friend’s death, she, just for a brief moment, was able to hold his hand and calm him down just before he needed to be on stage.

Ann Wilson’s words about her conversation with Chester Bennington before he passed read:

“Someone came into my dressing room and said, ‘Chester would like to talk to you’ – he was really upset. This was just a couple of weeks before [Chester] decided to take himself. So I went in. He was really a mess. So anxious and sad and had to go onstage in a minute.”

She added:

“I think that Chris’ [Cornell] departure hit [Chester] hard because he recognized the impulse. He had been hit by this news. There was a lot of fear there. I said to him, let’s breathe here and look in each other’s eyes and go, ‘We’re still here right now, let’s just do this.’ A couple of weeks later, he was gone.”

Even though Ann could bring Chester to the present moment during their brief talk, it wasn’t enough for the singer to continue with the lingering pain much longer. Two months after Cornell’s passing, just weeks after talking to Ann, Bennington tragically took his own life. The death of the two musicians in the span of a few months brought mental health to the surface.