Country singer Luke Bryan won Best Male Vocalist at Monday night's American Country Countdown Awards, but when he took the stage to accept the accolade, it was for more than just the award.
"I want to thank all of my fans for the last couple of weeks in my life, for keeping my family in your prayers," Bryan told the Nashville audience. "And I want to also recognize the country music community, all the artists."
Bryan's brother-in-law Ben Lee Cheshire passed away last month, one week after the country star took home the trophy for Favorite Male Country Artist at the American Country Awards. The singer is no stranger to tragedy, having lost his only sister, Cheshire's wife Kelly, unexpectedly in 2007 and his older brother in a car accident 11 years earlier.
The country star skipped the CMA Artists of the Year special on Dec. 2 to spend time with his family in the wake of Cheshire's death, but he performed and accepted his award at Monday's ACCAs, thanking the country community for their support during both a tough time and one of the biggest years of his career.
"Fans, let me explain something to you: You guys support wonderful artists, because they have rallied around me and helped me and my family through the last couple of weeks," Bryan said in his first public appearance since his brother-in-law's death. "It's just nice to feel loved in a situation [like that]. Just thank you guys for an amazing 2014."
The singer also posted his thanks on Twitter:
Thanks everyone. Awesome night.— Luke Bryan (@LukeBryanOnline) December 16, 2014
In August, Bryan made a 4-year-old autistic boy's dream come true. Check out the video below to see how.