The 41-year-old "Made For Now" reggaeton singer was honored with the Icon Award during the live telecast at Dolby Theatre on Thursday night. Yankee, who was up for six awards, was recognized as being this year's most distinguished and beloved artist of the Hispanic world.
"I work with a lot of discipline, perseverance and determination," Daddy Yankee said while accepting the award. "Many people ask me how they can get to this level and I simply tell them, respecting people, respecting family, respecting the fans, loving your homeland, like my homeland of Puerto Rico, I love you to death. In the same way loving other countries that have opened their doors to you. I am a student of life, I continue to learn from all my brothers every day. It’s been three decades of sacrifice. I have never failed, which means that I will never fail you."
The Puerto Rican artist has been a heavy-hitter in the world of reggaeton, with his 2004 album Barrio Fino and hit “Gasolina” propelling him into international stardom with his new genre. Barrio Fino debuted at No. 1 on the Top Latin Albums chart and ruled for 24 nonconsecutive weeks. Since then, he's won five Latin Grammy Awards, named one of Time magazine's 2016 100 most influential people in the world, and sold over 20 million records.
ET caught up with Yankee earlier in the week, where he said he felt "blessed" about getting the recognition.
"It's such a great honor and I feel blessed, honestly, I feel blessed," he expressed, adding that he hadn't written a speech. "I don't write my speech, I speak from the heart."
"It's a big award but I think one of the things that people connect with DY is that I'm natural," he continued. "So I'm just gonna live in the moment and everything I got in my heart I will express it in that moment."