Jared Leto paid tribute to late friend Chester Bennington, as well as Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards

By Lindsay Kimble
August 27, 2017 09:45 PM
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In an emotional and poignant moment amid Sunday’s colorful 2017 MTV Video Music Awards ceremony, Jared Leto reflected on the death of one of music’s greats.

Taking the stage in Los Angeles, the Oscar-winner and Thirty Seconds to Mars frontman paid tribute to his close friend, late Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington.

“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,” said Leto.

He continued, “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,” he said. “That voice will live forever.”

Kevin Winter/Getty

Bennington died of suicide by hanging in July, authorities confirmed to PEOPLE at the time.

Addressing viewers struggling with their mental health, Leto pleaded, “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.”

“The absolute biggest breakthroughs in life lie just beyond the darkest days,” Leto said, before introducing a video of Linkin Park performing at the annual ceremony in 2010.

Leto also honored Bennington’s close friend and fellow music icon Chris Cornell, who died of a suicide by hanging in May.

After news of Bennington’s death initially broke, Leto shared a similar message to the singer, noting, “It was clear to me that he was deeply grateful for both the people that surrounded him and the life that he had.

RELATED VIDEO: Linkin Park Singer Chester Bennington Honored With Huge Mural In L.A.

“A tragic loss of an absolute legend. We will miss you,” he said.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).