Toni Cornell, Chris Cornell’s 12-year-old daughter, took to the “Good Morning America” stage in Central Park Friday morning to perform a moving tribute to her late father and his friend Chester Bennington.
Toni was joined onstage by OneRepublic, and together they performed a stirring rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” OneRepublic performed in place of Linkin Park, who was initially scheduled to play prior to Bennington’s death. The bandmates told ABC News they were honored to pay tribute to both Bennington and Chris.
As OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder explained to “GMA” co-host Michael Strahan, they chose to play “Hallelujah” because Bennington sang it at Chris’ funeral and it is “arguably one of the greatest songs written in the last 50 years.”
Toni told Strahan it was “an honor” to perform for her dad and Chester before the co-host praised her for her bravery. Once the performance began, Toni and Tedder had the crowd in tears.
Toni’s father died in May of this year. In a statement, the singer’s representative Brian Bumbery called the rocker’s suicide “sudden and unexpected.”
Bennington was found dead on July 20 ― what would have been Cornell’s 53rd birthday ― in his home in California. The singer’s death was also ruled a suicide.
The two musicians were friends for years, and even toured together. Following Chris Cornell’s death, Bennington wrote a touching letter to the Soundgarden singer, saying, “I’m still weeping, with sadness, as well as gratitude for having shared some very special moments with you and your beautiful family.”
As Bennington’s Linkin Park bandmate Mike Shinoda recalled in a May interview, Bennington was deeply affected by his friend’s death. When Linkin Park decided to dedicate a song to Chris during one of their performances following Chris’ death, Bennington was overcome with emotion and had trouble getting through the performance.