The 2018 CMT Artists of the Year event promised to be a memorable one in its history of annual shows, for the fact that the network decided this year to honor solely female artists. That said, it made perfect sense the pinnacle award of the night, Artist of a Lifetime, would go to one of country music's pioneering female voices—the legendary Loretta Lynn.

However, the artist herself was unfortunately unable to receive her honor at the Nashville event Wednesday evening (Oct. 17), as she informed fans on social media she was too ill to attend.

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"Well Y'all, leave it to me to go and get sick on the very night all my friends are getting together to honor me at the CMT Award Show as their Artist of a Lifetime" the 86-year-old singer tweeted. "I can’t believe that I'm not gonna be there tonight in person, but I am watching and I’m there in spirit!"

Lynn did not elaborate on details of her illness. Just hours before the event, she tweeted her gratitude to CMT for being recognized. "This award sure means the world to me," she noted.

Lynn was set to be tributed by Sheryl Crow, Martina McBride and Dierks Bentley as part of the evening. She has been open about feeling healthy lately, despite having weathered a tough period of late. She suffered a stroke in 2017 followed by a fall at her home in early 2018 that broke her hip.

However, after a difficult recovery, she told Today's Jenna Bush Hager earlier this month "I feel so good that I'm ashamed to even say I feel so good!"

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

See CMT Artists of the Year Red Carpet Pictures:


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