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  • Writer's pictureTom Vachet

My Good Friend Chester Bennington

In 2010, I was contacted by an LA physician who had an anonymous patient who had been injured, and was now ready for a post-rehab strengthening program. We made arrangements for me to meet this prospective client at the physician's office.

On the day of the appointment, I arrived and was ushered in to the doctor's private office where we were introduced. I admittedly did not recognize him. But he was immediately friendly and outgoing, and introduced himself. The physician had to inform me he was the renowned front man for the band Linkin Park.

We chatted, and I learned he had injured his shoulder during a friendly round of golf. Chester admitted he had become frustrated with his game that day (I later discovered he was quite athletic, and very, very competitive), and after several failed sub-par efforts, he had thrown his golf club. The result was a torn rotator cuff requiring surgery.

Over the following period, we became close friends. The shoulder rehab took just a few months. But Chester had become addicted to my method of strengthening, and never got enough to satisfy him. We met for workouts, mostly on the beach near my home in Manhattan Beach, California. But I also traveled to his home in Gilbert, Arizona, outside Phoenix. That trip was convenient as I had another athlete in the area, Goran Dragic, who was playing for the Suns. I also occasionally provided Chester workouts in Linkin Park's recording studio.

Naturally I became a fan of the band, and Chester always invited me backstage to concerts, and even arranged for me to come by limo to Linkin Park's live appearance at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, where they beamed a performance of their new single, "The Catalyst" to the VMA Awards Show. The last time I saw him was at a concert in Tampa, where this photo of us was taken in the family room backstage.

Sadly, on July 20, 2017, Chester Bennington took his own life. He had suffered with addiction and depression throughout his life, and the death of his good friend, Chris Cornell affected him greatly. I miss him to this day, and it pains me greatly every time I hear him sing on the radio. I have trouble that good people often have their lives cut short too soon. Chester was one of those.

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