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Selena Gomez Cries Through Emotional Billboard Women in Music Speech

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Billboard honored Selena Gomez with its Woman of the Year distinction at last night’s (November 30) Billboard Women in Music Awards, but as far as the “Wolves” singer was concerned, the honor belonged to the friend who saved her life.

In September, Gomez revealed in a vulnerable Instagram post that — as consequence of her lupus (she was diagnosed in 2013) — she was forced to undergo emergency kidney transplant surgery earlier this year. And in last night’s speech, she cited her friend and donor Francia Raisa as the reason she was able to appear at the show at all.

“To be honest, I think Francia should be getting this award because she saved my life,” Gomez said before breaking down in tears. “Honestly, I couldn’t be more grateful for the position that I’ve been given in my career from seven to 14 to now…I want people to know that I respect the platform that I have so deeply because I knew that I wanted to be a part of something great and I wanted people to feel great because I love people.”

Gomez also thanked friends and family for sticking by her through “hard times,” and noted that women, in particular, have been driving forces behind her recovery.

“I’ve never felt more proud to be a woman in this industry than I do today and that’s because I feel actually comfortable with every single woman that has encouraged me,” she said. “I am so grateful for all the older women who have lifted all of us up because I couldn’t be here without any of you. Thank you to all of you who have inspired so many girls who don’t feel like they have a voice. I’m very, very lucky. I love you guys.”

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Next: Selena Gomez Named Billboard's 2017 Woman of the Year

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