Kevin Hart returned to the stage for his first major appearance since a car crash left him badly injured several months ago.
Robert Downey Jr. awarded Hart the trophy for Comedy Act of 2019, and the comedian received a standing ovation as he took the stage to accept the award.
“First and foremost, thank God because I definitely don’t have to be here,” Hart said. “Being that I am, it makes me appreciate life more. It makes me appreciate the things that really matter. I want to thank my wife and my kids. They really stepped up for me.”
Hart thanked the People's Choice Awards for the honor, but he also took time to thank the fans, particularly for their support as he recovers.
"You have no idea the effect that you have on us as entertainers," he said. "I truly want to thank you guys for being there for me in this difficult time."
The comedian has been laying low since his car crash in September.
Nearly two months after suffering a major back injury in the crash of his vintage muscle car in California, Hart made a return to social media at the end of last month to thank fans for their support and reflect on how his point of view has altered.
"I was involved in an accident. My world was forever changed," read text at the beginning of a video posted to Hart's Instagram last week in his first post since the day before the accident.
The video shared news footage of the crash, which occurred in Malibu, California, just after midnight on Sept. 1. Hart, 40, was a passenger in his 1970 Plymouth Barracuda when it drove off Mulholland Highway and rolled down an embankment, according to a California Highway Patrol collision report obtained at the time by USA TODAY.
Later, the video cut to personal footage taken at the hospital, where Hart struggled to walk, even with the help of two nurses and a walker. He also shared shots from physical therapy sessions in the gym and pool while displaying a major scar on his back.
"Basically you realize that you're not in control," the comedian reflected in a voiceover. "No matter how much you think you're in control, you're not in control. At the end of the day, it can all be over, man."
Contributing: Hannah Yasharoff
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kevin Hart accepts People's Choice Award, thanks God after car crash