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12-year-old Toni Cornell has experienced more grief in the last 3 months than most have in a lifetime, first losing her father, Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell to suicide in May and beloved family friend Chester Bennington a mere two weeks ago, also to suicide. While a major part of her world has changed in unimaginable ways, two things have not: her love for her daddy, and their shared love for music that has no doubt been a comfort to her during this difficult time in her young life – a love that found the 12-year-old onstage last month with OneRepublic at Good Morning America to sing “Hallelujah” in honor of her dad and Chester Bennington.
Fun Fact: Since 1991, “Hallelujah” has been performed by a wide variety of singers: over 300, and in various languages.
A soaring, sweeping performance that found Toni standing beside OneRepublic singer Ryan Tedder as his band, joined by a small orchestra, helped out on the 1984 Leonard Cohen classic, “Hallelujah” didn’t leave a dry eye in the house. As the camera panned between Toni and the audience, fans bearing Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington posters stood silently with tears streaming down their faces, struck by the strength within the tiny girl onstage whose tribute to the two men she loved most in the world finally gave them room to publicly grieve the loss of their heroes. This is a moment we’ll never forget, and it’s one that will stick with you, too.