efe-epaLos Angeles, United States

Julio Iglesias Saturday received an honorary Grammy in recognition of his career at a gala organized in Los Angeles by the Recording Academy.

The legendary Spanish singer, one of the most successful and influential Hispanic artists in history, was unable to attend the event, but sent a video to thank the Academy for the Lifetime Achievement Award, a distinction bestowed on those who have made great contributions to music.

Iglesias said in the message that he would have loved to be there to receive the award and thanked all the members of the Academy for the "gift".

Referring to the early years of his artistic career in the 1960s, Iglesias said he was born not to be a musician but to play football. An accident nearly made him nearly a paraplegic, following which the guitar changed his life completely, he said.

In a message of hope and encouragement, he said that all those who have faced tragedy in life must never give up, as life is always an opportunity.

The Puerto Rican operatic tenor Fernando Varela was in charge of representing Iglesias' work on stage with an emotional performance of "Besame mucho" (Kiss Me a lot) and "Caruso".

In an interview with EFE in December 2018, when it was announced that he would be receiving this special recognition, Spain's most famous singer said that he has remained a "guerrilla of life from beginning to end" and that this award was a "great stimulus" for his career.

"It's the last thing I expected. It is a prize that honors me very much and I want to receive it, without false modesty, because it is an indelible memory in my life," he said.

Other artists who were given this honor along with Iglesias this year are Black Sabbath, George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic, Billy Eckstine, Donny Hathaway, Sam & Dave and Dionne Warwick.

The ceremony, which was televised on PBS, took place in one of the most famous and glamorous venues in Los Angeles: the Dolby Theatre which hosts the Oscars every year.

Not far from the Dolby Theatre is the Hollywood Walk of Fame star Iglesias received, one of the many accolades that the Spanish legend has garnered over the course of his career.

More than 350 million albums sold in 14 languages for half a century of career demonstrate the worldwide phenomenon of a singer who celebrated his 75th birthday in 2018.

Iglesias is the third Spaniard to receive the honorary Grammy for after guitarist Andres Segovia and cellist Pau Casals.

In addition, Iglesias, Saturday, joined a select list of Hispanic artists who won the Lifetime Achievement Award, including Latin legends Celia Cruz, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Armando Manzaneo.

These names feature on the list of some of the most successful and beloved artists of the 20th century who have been given the Lifetime Achievement Award: The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra and Maria Callas.

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