"I wouldn't be standing here today if it wasn't for Randy Travis. I don't think any of us would be."

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Garth Brooks had the honor of presenting Randy Travis with CMT's 2021 Artist of a Lifetime award during the 2021 CMT Artists of the Year event on Wednesday night. In a short tribute to the country music icon, Brooks praised Travis for his monumental impact on himself as an artist and to the genre.  

Travis hit the scene in 1986 with his multi-platinum debut album Storms of Life. Brooks released his eponymous first album three years later, in 1989.

"I stand here tonight as one of the benefactors of this man's contributions to country music. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Randy Travis singlehandedly saved country music," Brooks said. "Even though it happened in the 80s… I wouldn't be standing here today if it wasn't for Randy Travis. I don't think any of us would be."

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"This is totally my opinion, and it doesn't have to be yours, but every artist in country music that takes the stage over the next 100 years should bow to this man and thank him for his contributions to country music," he added.

"I love him," Brooks concluded. "Artists like this guy only come along once in a lifetime. I know if you're like me, you pray that another Randy Travis shows up every day."

Travis' wife Mary spoke for the legendary crooner, who suffered a near-fatal stroke in 2013.

"The stroke, the aphasia from the stroke, it may have taken the voice, but it didn't take the man. And it didn't take the heart," she said, eliciting cheers from the crowd.  "And you know what else it didn't take? The music. We'll have that forever and ever, amen."

Congratulations, Randy!