Johnny Cash won the Country Music Association's album of the year, single of the year and video of the year awards Wednesday _ capturing his first CMA awards since 1969 and tying Alan Jackson for most wins during the night.
Cash, who died Sept. 12 at age 71 of complications from diabetes, was nominated for four awards and won all but one: vocal event of the year.
"It's amazing my father had such a life that he could expose himself and still never lose his dignity and his charm," said Cash's son John Carter Cash, who accepted the awards with Cash's daughter, Kathy Cash.
The announcements drew a standing ovation at the CMA's 37th Annual Country Music Awards.
CMA voters _ about 5,000 industry insiders who belong to the association _ nominated him before his death for best single and video for Hurt, a song about drug addiction written by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.
The Hurt video underscored Cash's frailty by contrasting images of a young, robust Cash from concerts and movies with new footage of the weathered and gray singer crooning, "You can have it all, my empire of dirt."
"I don't believe it's a token recognition," John Carter Cash said. "This is about a great impact in the history of music."
The Cash family has suffered a tragic year. June Carter Cash, Cash's wife and John Carter Cash's mother, died in May after complications from heart surgery. Cash died in September. And last month, Rosey Nix Adams, June Carter Cash's daughter and Cash's stepdaughter, was found dead in a camper bus from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.
Jackson won three awards, including vocal event of the year for his hit duet with Jimmy Buffett, It's Five O'Clock Somewhere. Jackson also won male vocalist of the year and entertainer of the year _ giving him 16 career CMA awards. Gill, who hosted Wednesday's show, holds the record with 18.
"Thank you, Alan Jackson _ I'm glad I can help your struggling career," Buffett joked. "It was about 31 years ago I came to this town to pursue my musical madness. I never won anything for anything and it's great to do it here."
Jackson said, "Thank you, Jimmy. No problem."
Martina McBride got the nod for female vocalist of the year over Dolly Parton, Patty Loveless, Alison Krauss and Terri Clark.
Toby Keith led all nominees with seven but was shut out. Keith was nominated for best entertainer, male vocalist, and album of the year for Unleashed. Beer For My Horses, a collaboration with Willie Nelson, was nominated for best song, single, music video and vocal event.
Despite Keith's multi-platinum sales success, he's won only one CMA award _ male vocalist of the year in 2001.
CMA award winners
_ Entertainer of the Year: Alan Jackson
_ Female Vocalist: Martina McBride
_ Male Vocalist: Alan Jackson
_ Horizon Award: Joe Nichols
_ Vocal Group: Rascal Flatts
_ Vocal Duo: Brooks & Dunn
_ Single: (awarded to artist and producer): "Hurt" _ Johnny Cash, produced by Rick Rubin, Lost Highway Records
_ Musician: Randy Scruggs _ guitar
_ Album: (awarded to artist and producer): "American IV: The Man Comes Around" _ Johnny Cash, produced by Rick Rubin, Lost Highway Records
_ Music Video: (awarded to artist and director): "Hurt" _ Johnny Cash, directed by Mark Romanek
_ Vocal Event: Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett _ "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere"
_ Song (awarded to songwriter and primary publisher): "Three Wooden Crosses" _ Doug Johnson/ Kim Williams, Mike Curb Music/ Sweet Radical Music/ Sony/ ATV Tunes