Almost two years after Tracy Morgan‘s nearly paralyzing car accident, the comedian, 47, returned to New Brunswick, New Jersey to perform a special show only two miles away from the hospital where he was treated.
The audience at the State Theatre was full of the doctors, first responders and nurses who took care of Morgan at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital after his accident in June 2014.
“Last night was one of the most special nights of my life,” Morgan told PEOPLE exclusively. “To be standing on stage with the people that saved my life in the audience was an overwhelming experience. I will never fully be able to thank the doctors, nurses, first responders and everyone else that got me back on that stage enough.
“These people are heroes and I love them all from the bottom of my heart,” he continued. “The only good thing that happened on that horrible night was that I was close to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital when the accident happened. God Bless them all.”
“After the sold-out show, Tracy asked for the house lights to be turned on and requested all those who helped save his life to share his standing ovation with him,” a friend tells PEOPLE. “It was a very emotional night.”
Following his performance, Morgan invited the hospital employees in attendance to come backstage to his dressing room for pictures and hugs.
Morgan donated all of the show’s proceeds to the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
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“I was in a very dark place,” he said. “I was sitting right here, contemplating suicide. I couldn’t walk.”
“It’s gonna take more than 18 wheels for me to get out of here,” he said. “I have to raise my girl, raise my wife, raise my family.”