"I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award than you," Elton John told Goldberg

By Brittany King
Updated December 02, 2016 11:05 AM

It was a well-deserved honor for Whoopi Goldberg.

On World AIDS Day, the longtime activist was honored with the Elizabeth Taylor Legacy Award during Thursday’s episode of The View as a result of her decades-long work helping those impacted by the disease.

During the show, Goldberg recalled how no one wanted want to discuss the AIDS pandemic in the early ’80’s and ’90s but she and close friend the late Elizabeth Taylor would. Together, the pair used spoke out on behalf of those affected by the the disease and Taylor insisted on using her own money and resources to help combat the stigma surrounding the illness.

“I was in Berkeley and San Francisco, where we had friends—performers, dancers, writers, designers—who suddenly got sick,” she began recalling. “And sick in a way that hospitals were dumping them on the streets, because they were afraid. They didn’t know where it was or where it had come from.”

“Years ago, Elizabeth Taylor came to me when I first got famous and said, ‘I’m going to ask you a question… if you say no, I will understand,’ ” Goldberg revealed. “She said, ‘Well, I’m doing a benefit for something called AIDS,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, okay. I’m in.”

Her co-host Sara Haines then surprised the 61-year-old actress with a video tribute, which included messages from Colin Farrell, Lionel Richie, and Elton John.

The emotional video ended with John telling her, “You my angel, my extraordinary friend, you stood up with Elizabeth and lent your voice to the fight when no one else would.”

“I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award than you,” the singer continued. “It’s an honor to present you with the Elizabeth Taylor Legacy Award. I’m so proud of you and I know Elizabeth would be too.”

Goldberg was then presented with the award carried out by four of Taylor’s grandchildren. One of the actresses’ grandson Quinn Tivey went on to announce that a $4 million joint partnership between the Foundation and PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) to support international help in Malawi.

The View airs weekdays (check local listings).