It still doesn't seem real, and yet it's true that Linkin Park's Chester Bennington passed away last month. This has been a tough thing for fans to deal with, but even tougher for those who actually knew Bennington personally and professionally. Jared Leto's Chester Bennington tribute at the 2017 VMAs, then, will likely reduce you to tears because of how poignant and true it was. Acting as a means of honoring both Bennington and Chris Cornell, who also died from suicide, the speech was both touching and comforting for fans of both men — or even for fans of neither man. For any person who has ever felt hopeless and alone, Leto's speech provided some comfort.
"In 1976 in Phoenix, Arizona a child was born. He was precocious, full of life, and determined and grew up to being the singer of one of the biggest rock bands in the history of music. His name was Chester Bennington and the band was Linkin Park," Leto began, his voice a little shaky as he spoke. Which comes as no surprise, considering the fact that the Thirty Seconds To Mars frontman considered the Linkin Park singer to be an "absolute legend."
When he found out about the singer's death, he wrote a touching tribute to the man on Twitter in which he said that, for Bennington, "both his family and his band were a massive source of inspiration and pride for him." Hopefully, Leto's speech can bring some comfort to that family and that band during what is still a depressing time for them.
The transcript of the full speech is as follows,
"In 1976 in Phoenix, Arizona, a child was born. He was precocious, full of life, and determined and grew up to being the singer of one of the biggest rock bands in the history of music. His name was Chester Bennington and the band was Linkin Park.
MTV asked me to come here today to say a few words about Chester and the late great Chris Cornell, two artists that I had the absolute pleasure of touring with. They were close friends with one another, Chester even singing a cover of the classic 'Hallelujah' at Chris' funeral. He said of Chris, 'Your voice was joy and pain and anger and forgiveness, love and heartache all wrapped up into one.'
Just week later, Chester himself was gone.
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 kinda and caring while doing it.
When I think about him, Chester, 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, my brother, Tomo, our band. I think about his wife and his six, 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.
If there is anyone out there who is watching this tonight who feels like there is no hope, hear me now: 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 are just beyond the darkest days."
It was a truly touching moment, and a reminder that every life matters, no matter how hard life may seem.