Linkin Park honour their late lead singer Chester Bennington with AMA award
Last night's American Music Awards had some fantastic moments. P!nk and Kelly Clarkson sang an emotional duet, Diana Ross showed up with half her family in tow, and Demi Lovato performed 'Sorry Not Sorry' in response to a barrage of hateful tweets on the screen.
However, one heartfelt tribute stood out amongst the many: Linkin Park's.
The band lost their frontman, Chester Bennington, earlier this year, and are clearly still in mourning for their friend. As they took the stage to collect the award for Favorite Alternative Rock Artist, three of the band's remaining members - Mike Shinoda, Rob Bourdon and Brad Delson - made sure to commemorate the man who made Linkin Park the world-renowned musicians they are today.
"We want to dedicate this award to Chester, to his memory, to his talent, to his sense of humor, to his joy," said Shinoda. "Remember, you guys — whether you’re a fan or an artist - I want you guys to take a moment to appreciate what you’ve got and make Chester proud."
His words are reminiscent of those from Talinda Bennington, Chester's widow, who uses the hashtag #MakeChesterProud on Twitter in order to encourage people suffering from mental health issues to find the strength to battle through.
Talinda actually tweeted a clip of the band's acceptance speech, captioning it, "Love you guys".
Mark Cuban, who announced the category winner, didn't actually think the band was present at the awards, so they surprised everyone when they turned up on stage.
"They didn’t know we were gonna be here you guys … but we’re here," Shinoda said.
The band also gave a special mention to Imagine Dragons, another band that had been nominated for the award: "I got a chance to talk to those guys… who said really wonderful things about Chester. And they were similar to the things that our fans said all around the world."
Shinoda concluded his speech by saying, "Thank you so much to all those who voted for the band, who have supported the band through thick and thin."
Bennington had battled depression and addiction problems for most of his life, and died by suicide at his home on July 20th. In the wake of his death, Talinda shared pictures and videos of the singer shortly before he passed away, showing people that mental health problems are not always visible on the surface.
Fans around the world were shaken by the news, especially as it followed so shortly after the death of Chris Cornell - a fellow rock musician and close friend of Chester's.
“Our hearts are broken. The shockwaves of grief and denial are still sweeping through our family as we come to grips with what has happened,” Linkin Park said in a statement shortly after Chester died.
“You touched so many lives, maybe even more than you realized. In the past few days, we've seen an outpouring of love and support, both public and private, from around the world ...
"We’re trying to remind ourselves that the demons who took you away from us were always part of the deal. After all, it was the way you sang about those demons that made everyone fall in love with you in the first place. You fearlessly put them on display, and in doing so, brought us together and taught us to be more human. You had the biggest heart, and managed to wear it on your sleeve.”
Though he is no longer around to perform with the band, it's obvious that Chester will always be a part of Linkin Park, and that they will carry on his legacy in his absence.