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The Country Music Association has awarded Darius Rucker the 2023 CMA Foundation Humanitarian Award.

The country music superstar was presented the award in a surprise announcement from Kelly Clarkson during his recent visit to “The Kelly Clarkson Show.”

Rucker spoke about his late mother Carolyn Rucker and explained how the namesake of his new album, Carolyn’s Boy, directly inspired his passion for giving back.

“When I was a kid, she instilled in us that you help people – not people that are less fortunate; you help people that need help,” Rucker shared with Clarkson about one of his mom’s greatest lessons.

He also noted, “We grew up in a really poor neighborhood with not much and, you know, there was no reason for me to believe that I was gonna be here and make it. But she always instilled in me ‘believe in yourself, you can do whatever you want.’”

The CMA Foundation Humanitarian Award recognizes an individual who has served as a humanitarian through community leadership, financial support, personal volunteerism, and advocacy. The CMA Foundation said that Rucker, who is a four-time CMA Awards nominee, has evidenced commitment to worthwhile causes that are important to the Country Music Association and the country music community.

Rucker pledged his support to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital after an inspiring firsthand visit 15 years ago and, as a result, created the “Darius and Friends” charity auction, golf tournament and concert in 2010

Rucker also co-chaired the capital campaign that generated $150 million to help build the new MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital in his hometown of Charleston, South Carolina.

(Photo: Weiss Eubanks/NBCUniversal)

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