Late Linkin Park Singer Chester Bennington Honored At 2017 VMAs

Jared Leto took the stage at the 2017 Video Music Awards to lead the audience in paying their respects to the late singer Chester Bennington and fellow late rockstar Chris Cornell.

"In 1976, in Phoenix, Arizona, a child was born," the 30 Seconds to Mars frontman told viewers (via E! News). "He was precocious, full of life, and determined. He grew up to become the singer of one of the biggest rock bands in the history of music. His name was Chester Bennington."

Leto continued, "MTV asked me to come here to say a few words about Chester and the late, great, Chris Cornell, two artists I had the absolute pleasure of touring with. They were close friends with one another. Chester even singing the cover of the classic 'Hallelujah' at Chris' funeral. Chester said of Chris, 'Your voice was joy and pain and anger and forgiveness, love and heartache, all wrapped up into one.' Just weeks later, Chester himself was gone. Chester was my friend. As he was to so many. Witnessing his life taught me important things. Especially about working relentlessly, pursuing dreams, and being kind and caring while doing it."

"When I talk about him, I see his face, which was always smiling. I think about his heart, which he wore on his sleeve. I think how kindly he treated me...and I remember his voice. At once ferocious and delicate, that voice will live forever," the 45-year-old said.

"If there is anyone out there who is watching this tonight, who feels like there is no hope, hear me now," Leto stated. "You are not alone. There is always a way forward. Reach out, share your thoughts, do not give up, and, I promise you this: The absolute biggest breakthroughs in life lay just beyond the darkest days."

As Variety noted, Leto then introduced a clip of Linkin Park's 2010 VMAs performance at Los Angeles' Griffith Observatory, in honor of Bennington.

As Nicki Swift previously reported, Bennington was found dead on July 20, 2017. His death was later ruled a suicide by hanging. He was just 41 years old.

A month earlier, Cornell, lead singer for both Soundgarden and Audioslave, had committed suicide by hanging at 52 years old.

Want to know more about the lives of the late singers? Read the untold truth of Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell.