Jared Leto took a special moment at the 2017 MTV VMAs to honor his close friend, Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington, on Sunday night. “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,” the Thirty Seconds to Mars singer began his heartfelt tribute.
He continued to reflect on the late performer, who died by hanging on July 20 at age 41:
“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, 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 else out there who is watching this tonight who feels like there is not hope, hear me now: you are not alone.
While Leto's speech was beautiful, it was unfortunately met with two cringe-y moments. The first came when the singer had to almost beg the audience to stand up for Bennington ("I can wait all day"). Then after Leto introduced a clip from Linkin Park's 2010 VMAs performance of "The Catalyst," the video was quickly cut short. Naturally, fans of the band took to social media to express their distaste.
The messy tribute comes a few days after Bennington's ex-wife Samantha Bennington posted a lengthy Facebook message about his funeral. Calling it a "disgusting delusional display," she claimed "My son & I have not had an opportunity to speak, not even at his funeral (that only represented his life that he was married to his new wife)."
Below, continue to honor Chester Bennington's legacy with this classic Fuse Steven's Untitled Rock Show interview with Linkin Park from a decade ago: