Selena Gomez has paid a tearful tribute to her friend Francia Raisa, who donated a kidney to her earlier this year, while making an acceptance speech at Billboard’s Women In Music event.

Gomez accepted Billboard’s 2017 Woman of the Year award at a star-studded event in Los Angeles on Thursday evening (November 30th). Touchingly, she received the award from Raisa herself, who has been Selena’s closest friend and confidant for nearly a decade, and she struggled to hold back her emotions as she paid tribute to her in her opening remarks.

“I think Francia should be getting this award,” the 25 year old star said, breaking down in tears. “She saved my life… I feel incredibly lucky.”

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“Honestly, I couldn’t be more grateful for the position that I’ve been given in my career from 7 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, I wanted people to feel great.”

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Gomez then went on to describe the “really hard times” following her surgery in the summer. She had shocked her fanbase back in September when she revealed that, due to complications in her ongoing battle with lupus, she had received an emergency kidney transplant, with Raisa selflessly stepping up for her best friend.

She has been open in talking about her struggles with the autoimmune disease, first speaking about it in October 2015 when revealing she was undergoing chemotherapy to treat it.

“I feel like for me, with my music, I’ve been able to illustrate the things that I want. And I’m reminded by a team of people who believe in me even when I don’t myself and I couldn’t be more luckier,” Gomez told the crowd at the awards ceremony.

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