Sir Elton John and Adele were among the stars who praised singer Annie Lennox as the chart-topping performer was honoured for her contribution to music.
More than 1,000 people attended a fundraising dinner to see the former Eurythmics star given the Music Industry Trusts Award in London for her achievements and her charity commitments.
Speaking in a recorded video tribute, Sir Elton said of her award: "I t is so well deserved and not only for your extraordinary contribution to music and songwriting but also for your outstanding and tireless work as an HIV and AIDS activist and supporter of woman's rights."
Archbishop Desmond Tutu was also among those who spoke on film saying: "She is one of those exemplary human beings who chose to put her success in her chosen career to work in order to benefit others. She is a true friend of Africa and of South Africa.
"Her Aids activism in general, and support for the treatment action campaign in-particular, contributed significantly to turning the pandemic around in our country."
Writing in the programme for the event, Oscar-winning star Adele said: " So many of her songs have been the soundtrack to my life.
"Annie Lennox has been a constant part of my life. An example of a brilliant talent that exudes excellence and influence on everyone."
Lennox, 58, follows in the footsteps of Sir Elton, Gary Barlow and the late John Barry in being presented with the award. The singer - whose solo hits include Why and Walking On Broken Glass - also performed at the dinner, which was staged in London's Grosvenor House Hotel and is raising money for Nordoff Robbins and the BRIT Trust.
She said: "I'm very touched and honoured to receive this award. Music has given me a lifetime of experiences and opportunities that I would never have dreamed possible, and I feel very privileged to have been able to become an artist and communicator, especially as a woman."
The event was hosted by Radio 2 presenter Jo Whiley, after her station colleague Paul Gambaccini withdrew from his appearance following his arrest last week as part of the Metropolitan Police's Operation Yewtree investigation. He has denied all allegations.