VMAs: Jared Leto Pays Tribute to Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell

"Chester was my friend, as he was to so many," the actor-singer said during his tribute.

On hand to honor the late Chester Bennington, Oscar winner and Thirty Seconds to Mars singer Jared Leto spoke to the VMAs audience about the Linkin Park singer, who committed suicide July 20.

“Chester was my friend, as he was to so many,” Leto somberly said. “And witnessing his life taught me important things, especially about working relentlessly, pursuing dreams and being kind and caring while doing it.”

Apart from Bennington, Leto also paid homage to Chris Cornell, telling the audience, “They were close friends with one another.”

Speaking of the timeline to Bennington’s death, Cornell said, “Chester said of Chris, ‘Your voice was joy, pain and anger, love and heartache all wrapped into one.’ Just weeks later, Chester was gone.” (Bennington died on what would have been Cornell's 53rd birthday.)

Leto spoke of his relationship with Bennington, noting the brotherhood he and his band had with the rock singer.

“When I think about him, Chester, I see his face, which was always smiling,” said Leto, adding, “I think about his heart, which he wore on his sleeve. I think how kindly he treated me, my brother, our band.”

Leto also honored Bennington’s family. “I think about his wife and 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 took time to encourage those in the audience or watching at home feeling hopeless. “You are not alone," the actor-singer said. “Do not give up, and I promise you this, that the absolute biggest breakthroughs in life are through the darkest days.”

After speaking, Leto encouraged the crowd to stand, as he introduced a video of Linkin Park’s 2010 VMA performance. The clip was so brief that many on Twitter questioned whether the performance had inadvertently been cut off too early. 

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