'I didn't know him but he was very close to me,' he said when accepting the Top Hot 100 Artist Award

By Madison Vain
May 22, 2016 at 12:00 PM EDT

The Weeknd is up for for 19 awards at Sunday night’s Billboard Music Awards, and he used his first acceptance speech to honor a personal hero. “I want to dedicate this award to the late, great Prince,” he said to the crowd at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas after winning the Top Hot 100 Artist Award, growing visibly emotional. 

“I was told not long ago that his last TV appearance, he had given me an award—and that was like the greatest experience of my entire life and I love him so much,” The Weeknd continued. “I didn’t know him but he was very close to me and he will always be an inspiration and of course help me push the envelope forever.”


He was also up for other awards in categories like Top 100 Song, Top Selling Song, Top R&B Artist, Top Radio Songs Artist, and Top R&B Song.