STAIND frontman Aaron Lewis says that he was "blindsided" by his friend Chester Bennington's passing.The LINKIN PARK singer died on July 20 after committing suicide at the age of 41. He had been open with the press and public about his struggles with drugs and alcohol, which landed him in rehab twice around 2006. Asked by ReviewSTL.com when the last time was that he was able to speak to Bennington before his death, Lewis said: "Unfortunately, I hadn't spoken to Chester in a long time. I was truly just blindsided by the whole thing. We were really close when we were on tour together. We hung out all the time together. That was a really long time ago. Careers continue and paths don't cross for a long period of time. Then careers continue and we go in completely different directions because I'm now doing country. Then, you see on the news that somebody you were really close to at one point is gone." Lewis paid tribute to Bennington just hours after learning of the LINKIN PARK singer's passing by performing the STAIND track "Something To Remind You" on July 20 at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. He also teamed up with STAIND guitarist Mike Mushok and GODSMACK frontman Sully Erna on August 4 at the Aaron Lewis And Friends benefit concert in Northampton, Massachusetts to play an acoustic version of LINKIN PARK's "Crawling". Bennington's private funeral service took place on July 29 near his home in Palos Verdes, California. It was attended by five hundred guests, including members of all three bands he sang in: LINKIN PARK, STONE TEMPLE PILOTS and DEAD BY SUNRISE.
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