In mid-September, Selena Gomez revealed some surprising news: Due to complications from lupus, she underwent a kidney transplant., and her best friend Francia Raisa was the donor. “There aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa,” Gomez wrote on Instagram at the time. “She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis.”
Gomez tearfully talked about Raisa and the procedure again a month later during an interview with Today anchor Savannah Guthrie. “She [saved my life],” Gomez said. “That’s it. I got to the point where it was life and death.”
Selena sang Raisa’s praises a third time—again fighting back tears—during Billboard’s Women in Music event Thursday night (November 30). Raisa and Elle Fanning presented Gomez with the Woman of the Year Award, and Gomez used her speech as an opportunity to thank her friend for donating her kidney.
“To be honest, I think Francia should be getting this award because she saved my life,” Gomez said. She and Raisa immediately started crying after this, and the audience erupted in a rapturous applause. Mary J. Blige, who was at the event, also appeared visibly moved.
Watch the moment happen for yourself in the video, below:
“With my music, I’ve really been able to illustrate the things I want,” Gomez also said during her speech. “I’ve never felt this proud to be a woman in the industry than I do today. And that’s because I actually feel comfortable with every single woman that’s encouraged me.”