Loretta Lynn was ill and unable to attend Wednesday night's (Oct. 17) CMT Artists of the Year event, but actress Sissy Spacek was happy to speak on behalf of her friend of 40 years.

"I loved playing Loretta in Coal Miner’s Daughter," Spacek told the crowd as she accepted Lynn's CMT Artist of a Lifetime honor. "I just loved being her. I had the band, I had the bus, I had the clothes. But I think we can all agree, there’s only one Loretta Lynn."

"She’s so sorry she couldn’t be here tonight. She’s a little under the weather. I saw her earlier today, and she was so excited about this award," she continued. Spacek seemed to be overcome by the gravity of the moment as she spoke about their undying friendship.

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“From the moment we met, she’s been my cheerleader, my sister, my best friend," she remarked as tears began to fall. "And it’s still like that almost 40 years later. It's my honor to accept her award."

Of course, Spacek was not the only one wiping tears from her face — as the camera panned the room, it was obvious that Carrie Underwood and Kelsea Ballerini were also touched by Spacek’s words.

On Thursday morning, Lynn thanked her friend via Facebook, writing: "My friend Sissy did me right last night. She's such a great friend and I still would have loved to see her wear one of my gowns last night! Thank you, Sissy. I love you."

The Artist of a Lifetime honor was certainly worthy of one of Lynn's iconic gowns. The award — given to artists like Kenny Rogers and Merle Haggard in the past — recognizes artists who have devoted their career to country music. Starting hers in 1960 with the song "I'm a Honky Tonk Girl," Lynn has had decades of hits and award wins. In 2013, she even received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama.

Lynn has battled her share of health issues in recent years. In 2017, the country music legend suffered a stroke, as she battled back from it, suffered a fall at her Tennessee home, which resulted in a broken hip.

But Southern girls don’t give up, and they certainly don’t back down. That fact was dually noted as Spacek ended her speech with some strong words.:

"I think Loretta said it best: 'It’s about dadgum time we recognize women.'"

Lynn released her latest albumWouldn't It Be Great, on Sept. 28.

See 2018 CMT Artists of the Year Red Carpet Pictures: