Spanish tenor Placido Domingo said he was filled with "happiness and emotion" as he was named person of the year at the Latin Grammy awards in Las Vegas.
"Sadly many artists who I shared the stage with are no longer with us," the 69-year-old said as he received his prize from singer Ricky Martin.
"It gives me such happiness to keep on singing and living days like this," the opera star continued.
Other artists honoured at the awards included singer Nelly Furtado.
"I don't believe it," said the Canadian-Portugese performer as she picked up her female pop vocal prize for Spanish language album Mi Plan "I didn't prepare anything."
"Thank you very much for your support and your faith in me," she added in Spanish.
Dominican singer Juan Luis Guerra and Mexican rock trio Camila were the big winners of the night, receiving three prizes each.
The latter won song and recording of the year, for Mientes, and best group vocal album, for Dejarte de Amar.
Band leader Mario Domm paid tribute to his mother for "putting up with so much noise" while the album was recorded.
Guerra won best album and contemporary tropical album, for A Son de Guerra, as well as best tropical song, for Bachata en Fukuoka.
The 53-year-old - who already has 12 Latin Grammys to his name - was among the performers on the night, singing as acrobats in swimming costumes cavorted in an on-stage pool.
Elsewhere Spanish heartthrob Enrique Iglesias performed with 'reggaeton' duo Wisin y Yandel.
And Dominican-American singer Prince Royce sang his bilingual cover version of Stand By Me with 72-year-old Ben E King, who sang the original.
Spaniard Alejandro Sanz won best male pop vocal album for Paraiso Express, while Cuban-Canadian singer Alex Cuba - who co-wrote songs on Furtado's Mi Plan - was named best new artist.
The awards, hosted by comedian Eugenio Derbez and actress Lucero, recognise music from all over the world recorded in Spanish and Portuguese.