Legendary singer Diana Ross handed the award to the country-turned-pop superstar, who also performed her new single "Blank Space" live for the first time at the event.
Accepting the award, Swift praised Clark, who spearheaded the AMAs.
"He fought for music to be at the forefront of our minds and on our televisions as much as possible," Swift said in her accpetance speech. "I'm so unbelievably ecstatic that his family chose to honor me and that the AMAs chose to honor me with this."
It was also a big night for Australian rapper Iggy Azalea who won in the Best Rap/Hip-Hop Album category. The accolade is Azalea's first-ever award since she started a career in the music industry, according to People.
"This is the first awards I've ever won in my entire life, and means so much to me that it is for best hip-hop," the "Fancy" rapper said in her acceptance speech. "Because that's what inspired me to move to America and pursue my dreams."
She continued, "It's what helped me when I was a teenager to escape and to get through my life and to better times."
It was also the first time Lorde performed "Yellow Flicker Beat," which is included in the soundtrack of "Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1," live, according to The Guardian. Fergie also debuted her first single since 2006 called "L.A. Love" that night. Rapper Lil Wayne also previewed a new song with singer Christina Millian.
British boy band One Direction, who took home three awards including Artist of the Year, performed their new song "Night Changes" live for the first time during the awards show.
The American Music Awards 2014 was held on November 23, 2014 at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles, CA.
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