Leto took the stage at the Forum and recalled his relationship with Cornell and Bennington, pointing out that the Linkin Park singer performed “Hallelujah” at Cornell’s funeral, and that the two had toured together.
“Chester was my friend, as he to so many, and witnessing his life taught me important things, especially about working relentlessly, perusing dreams, and being kind and caring while doing it,” Leto said. “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 about his wife. I think about his family, I think about his band, who were really his brothers,” he continued. “And I remember his voice, at once ferocious and delicate. That voice will live forever.”
Before prompting the audience to get on their feet, Leto reached out to viewers who might be struggling with suicidal thoughts. “The absolute biggest breakthroughs in life lie just beyond the darkest days,” he said.
The actor and singer then introduced a clip of Linkin Park performing for the 2010 VMAs from Los Angeles’ Griffith Observatory, including a picture of Bennington smiling as he interacted with fans at a concert.