Opera legend Plácido Domingo was honored at the Latin Grammy Person of the Year in Las Vegas Wednesday night.
Domingo was recognized for his cultural and philanthropic accomplishments during the awards ceremony 11th annual show.
"This is a great honor for me," Domingo, 69, told the crowd, clutching a crystal trophy to his chest as his eyes teared up. "How many people seated in this room here today deserve to be the Person of the Year. I know there are many."
The Hispanic music legend, who was been working since he was 16-years-old, says on his Web site that the more he works, “the more fulfilled he feels."
"If I rest," he said, "I rust.”
Domingo is known to popular music audiences for his "Three Tenors" performances with José Carreras and the late Luciano Pavarotti.
In previous years, presenters sang the top hits of the Person of the Year during the tribute concert. Domingo instead requested his favorite singers perform the songs that drew him to a life of music.
It was a night for every musical genre.
Performances for the night included American group, The Lettermen, who sang their 1968 hit “Put Your head on my Shoulder.” Patty Austin, Paloma San Basilio and Alexander Fernández also sang for Domingo.
Ricky Martin, a past recipient of the award, presented Domingo with his trophy.
But it was Domingo himself who stole the show when he stood on stage for a rousing performance of the opera standard "Granada" as images of the storied Spanish city flashed behind him on a screen. Domingo, dressed in a classic tuxedo, drew the only standing ovation of the night.
Domingo devoted his acceptance brief speech to his love for the Spanish-speaking world, deeming the connection between Spain and its former colonies "extraordinary."
"Our language, our music, our culture, our happiness is contagious and the world has been infected with that music," he said. "Every day more people listen to our music in the world."
He also shared a tender moment with his son.
"If I had the choice to sing like you or be like you, I would prefer to be like you," said composer Plácido Domingo Jr. before embracing his father.
On the red carpet, artists such as Spanish rapper La Mala, Mexican conductor Alondra de la Parra and Mexican singer Aleks Syntek cited Domingo as a musical influence.
"He is an inspiration for all of us Latinos," said Syntek, who performed Puerto Rican pop star Luís Fonsi's "Aqui Estoy Yo" during the concert. "He is a legend."
When he was eight years old, Domingo moved from Spain to Mexico City, where he studied at the National Conservatory of Music. In 1968, he debuted with The Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
He founded Operalia, a contest for opera singing, and raised millions of dollars in benefit concerts for victims of disasters such as Mexico's 1985 earthquake and Hurricane Katrina.
The great maestro has made more than 100 recordings and has won nine Grammy Awards and two Latin Grammy Awards. He also maintains a busy schedule as a restaurateur and director of two opera companies, the Washington National Opera and the Los Angeles Opera.
Domingo underwent surgery to remove a cancerous polyp from his colon in March, but quickly returned to the stage.
Previous recipients of the Person of the Year honor include Gloria Estefan, Julio Iglesias and Carlos Santana.
The awards show is scheduled for Thursday at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas and will be broadcast live on Univisión.
The Associated Press Contributed to this Report.