Kevin Hart thankful to be alive during first public appearance since near-fatal car accident

Kevin Hart made his first official public appearance at the 2019 People’s Choice Awards on Sunday following his life-threatening car accident in September.

The 40-year-old comedian was present to accept the trophy for best comedy act of 2019. He received a standing ovation from the crowd after presenter Robert Downey Jr. announced him as the winner.

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“First and foremost, thank God because I definitely don’t have to be here,” the comedian began his acceptance speech (via E! Online). “Being that I am, it makes me appreciate life even more. It makes me appreciate the things that really matter. Family.”

He continued: “I want to thank my wife and kids, who really stepped up to the plate for me.”

Hart concluded his acceptance speech by thanking the slew of fans who showed their support for him shortly after the near-fatal crash on Sept. 1.

Pictured: Kevin Hart accepts The Comedy Act of 2019 award on stage for 'Kevin Hart: Irresponsible' on stage during the 2019 E! People's Choice Awards.

Pictured: Kevin Hart accepts The Comedy Act of 2019 award on stage for 'Kevin Hart: Irresponsible' on stage during the 2019 E! People's Choice Awards. (Photo by: Alberto Rodriguez/E! Entertainment/NBCU Photo Bank)

“You have no idea the effect you have on us as entertainers; your energy, your support. It means the world and I truly want to thank you guys for being there for me in my difficult time."

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The comedian was riding in the passenger seat of his 1970 Plymouth Barracuda with two other people in the early hours of Sept. 1 when the driver lost control of the vehicle and went careening down an embankment before slamming into a tree. Police report that the driver was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time.

Hart reportedly fractured his spine in three places, which put him in the hospital for several days and forced him to undergo difficult rehabilitation. The comedian documented some of that rehab in an emotional video posted to Instagram on Oct. 29.

“When God talks, you got to listen,” Hart says over the footage, which shows him taking steps with a walker as health aides assist him.

“In this case, I honestly feel like God told me to sit down. You know, you’re moving too fast, you’re doing too much. Sometimes, you can’t see the things you’re meant to see.”

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His appearance at the People’s Choice Awards marks his first official public outing after being spotted around Los Angeles and returning for promotional work on his upcoming film “Jumanji: The Next Level.”