An emotional Selena Gomez couldn't hold back her tears as she thanked best friend Francia Raisa for "saving her life" at the Billboard Women In Music awards in Los Angeles on Thursday (30 November).

Gomez was presented with the woman of the year award by Raisa and Elle Fanning. The 25-year-old gave a candid acceptance speech where she spoke about her kidney transplant in September this year.

Speaking about Raisa, Gomez said: "I think Francia should be getting this award. She saved my life... I feel incredibly lucky."

"She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me," the singer had earlier written in a heartfelt Instagram post.

The Bad Liar singer underwent surgery earlier this year due to complications with lupus.

"My kidneys were just done. That was it and I didn't want to ask a single person in my life. That was the day I came home and she [Raisa] volunteered, she did it," Gomez told host Savannah Guthrie in an interview with NBC's The Today Show in October.

Ahead of the awards show on the red carpet, Raisa was asked about being a kidney donor to her friend and she answered: "What's scary is knowing she was two weeks away from kidney failure and I didn't find out until after the surgery.

"Just seeing my friend get sick, and more sick, and more sick was hard but at the same time so positive for our friendship. It got us closer but I also learned so much this year about myself. It was a very humbling experience."

I’m very aware some of my fans had noticed I was laying low for part of the summer and questioning why I wasn’t promoting my new music, which I was extremely proud of. So I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering. It was what I needed to do for my overall health. I honestly look forward to sharing with you, soon my journey through these past several months as I have always wanted to do with you. Until then I want to publicly thank my family and incredible team of doctors for everything they have done for me prior to and post-surgery. And finally, there aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa. She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis. Lupus continues to be very misunderstood but progress is being made. For more information regarding Lupus please go to the Lupus Research Alliance website: www.lupusresearch.org/ -by grace through faith

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Accepting the award, Gomez said that she was grateful for all the support she has received throughout her career.

"Honestly, I couldn't be more grateful for the position that I've been given in my career from seven to 14 to now.

"I want people to know that I respect the platform that I have so deeply because I knew that I wanted to be a part of something great, I wanted people to feel great," the singer added.

The Wolves hitmaker, who recently got back with ex boyfriend Justin Bieber, had to take a brief hiatus from her successful music career due to health problems. But she has since promised to make a comeback with an "epic album".

"I don't know how I'll ever repay it but maybe I'll make an epic album next year," Gomez said.

Beyonce, Pink, Taylor Swift and Fergie are the former recipients of the award.

Watch Gomez's acceptance speech here: