“MTV asked me to come here today to say a few words about Chester and the late, great Chris Cornell,” he began. “Two artists that I had the absolute pleasure of touring with.”
He went on, noting the friendship between Bennington and Cornell, adding that the former had even performed at the latter’s funeral.
“Chester was my friend, as he was to so many, and witnessing his life taught me important things. Especially about working relentlessly, pursuing dreams, and being kind and caring while doing it,” he said. “When I think about him ― Chester ― I see his face, which was always smiling.”
He continued, “I think about his heart, which he wore on his sleeve. I think how kindly he treated me, my brother, our band. I think about his wife and his six incredible children. I think about his family, I think about his band ― who were really his brothers ― and I remember his voice, at once ferocious and delicate. That voice will live forever.”
Leto then spoke to anyone watching at home who “feels like there is no hope.”
“Hear me now,” he said. “You are not alone.”
After he spoke, the “Dallas Buyers Club” star asked the crowd to stand in honor of Bennington as a video of Linkin Park’s 2010 VMAs performance played.
Bennington died by suicide in July of this year, just months after Soundgarden frontman Cornell died.
Following news of Bennington’s death, his Linkin Park bandmates released a statement saying, “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.”
“Your absence leaves a void that can never be filled — a boisterous, funny, ambitious, creative, kind, generous voice in the room is missing,” they added, writing directly to Bennington. “You had the biggest heart, and managed to wear it on your sleeve.”