[Photo credits: Instagram/@linkinpark & Ricky Swift/WENN.com]

Following the unexpected death of Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington last week, friends, fans, and family have been processing their grief and sharing their memories of the late frontman in their own unique ways.

Perhaps none of these tributes tug at the heartstrings more than the thoughts and words of his own Linkin Park bandmates, the musicians that Bennington spent nearly 20 years writing, recording, and performing with.

Read more: Linkin Park release statement about Chester Bennington: “Our hearts are broken”

On Monday, the same day that LP released their first official statement regarding their singer's death, bandmate Mike Shinoda posted an Instagram photo of the band from the late '90s, from a time when Bennington had first joined the group. See the touching pic and read Shinoda's caption below:


A post shared by Mike Shinoda (@m_shinoda) on

“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. He said he was ready to move out from Arizona to L.A. We went to a pizza place near UCLA to hang out and talk about what to do next. 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.”

In the moving Instagram post, Shinoda mentions that Linkin Park were first called Xero. (They eventually changed their name to Hybrid Theory and, ultimately, Linkin Park.) Bennington first joined the band officially around 1999, after fronting the Phoenix, Arizona-based rock band Grey Daze.

Bennington died by suicide on Thursday, July 20. He was 41. Coincidentally, the date would have also been Chris Cornell's 53rd birthday—the Soundgarden, Audioslave, and Temple Of The Dog founder died in a similar manner earlier this year, and Bennington and Cornell were reportedly close friends.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, there is help to be found. Please consider these online resources and talk to your regular doctor about your symptoms:
MentalHealth.gov – Get Immediate Help
ImAlive – Online Crisis Network
International Association For Suicide Prevention – Resources
The Anxiety And Depression Association Of America
The National Alliance On Mental Illness
American Psychiatric Association – Finding Help
National Institute Of Mental Health
American Psychological Association – Psychologist locator

Watch more: Chester Bennington of Linkin Park on playing Warped Tour, the band's new sound, more