Zayn Malik said he been through a "crazy year" as he was named new artist of the year at the American Music Awards.
The former One Direction singer, who quit the boyband in March 2015, was honoured at the star-studded ceremony in Los Angeles, where Sting also accepted a lifetime achievement award.
Collecting his award, which is chosen by the American public, Zayn said: "This one just says my name on it, right?
"It's been a crazy year. I can't thank the people who have been with me everyday for the past year enough.
"To this very point, being stood on this stage is crazy."
After thanking his parents and fans, the 23-year-old from Bradford added: "I didn't expect anybody to still vote for me so thank you for voting for me. I'll put it on my fireplace."
As he left the stage Zayn embraced his girlfriend, model Gigi Hadid, who was hosting the awards show with comedian Jay Pharoah.
Niall Horan, Zayn's former One Direction bandmate, had earlier performed his debut solo single This Town at the ceremony at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles.
Actor Robert Downey Jr presented Sting with the American Music Award of Merit in recognition of work with his former band The Police and as a solo artist.
After playing a medley of some of his biggest hits including Message In A Bottle and Every Breath You Take, Sting said: "It's important for me as a musical migrant to acknowledge the very real debt I owe to American music. After all, American music lit the musical spark in my mind.
"While I may be an Englishman in New York, my musical soul is all-American."
Selena Gomez, making her first public appearance following a reported stint in rehab, delivered an emotional acceptance speech after she was named favourite rock/pop female artist.
The 24-year-old US singer announced she was taking time off from her career in August to deal with anxiety, panic attacks and depression as a result of the autoimmune disease lupus.
Appearing close to tears on stage, she said: "I think it's safe to say most of you know a lot of my life whether I liked it or not. I had to stop because I had everything and I was absolutely broken inside.
"I kept it all together enough to where I would never let you down but I kept it too much together to where I let myself down.
"If you are broken, you don't have to stay broken. Whether you respect me or not, that's one thing you should know about me is that I care about people."
Ariana Grande beat Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Selena and Carrie Underwood to win the top honour of the night: artist of the year.
Drake, who received a record 13 nominations, won four awards including favourite rap/hip hop artist and favourite rap/hip hop album for Views.
Justin, who is on tour in Europe, also won four awards including favourite pop/rock male artist and video of the year for Sorry.
Rihanna won three awards, while Adele, who was up for four awards on the night, won favourite adult contemporary artist.
Prince's Purple Rain was named soundtrack of the year following the singer's sudden death in May, aged 57.
His sister Tyka broke down in tears as she accepted the award, which she said would be kept at Prince's Paisley Park estate.
"Prince defied the odds," she said. "A black teen from Minneapolis with a goal to electrify the world. He had the courage to be different with his courage and god-given talent."
American rock band Green Day performed at the show and tweaked the lyrics of their song Bang Bang to criticise President-elect Donald Trump.
During the band's performance, lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong sang: "No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA."