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Rick Astley was named the Best Act Ever at the MTV Europe Music Awards, as fans of the 1980s singer pulled off the biggest ever "Rickroll".
By Matthew Moore
Last Updated: 9:10AM GMT 07 Nov 2008Astley did not attend the awards ceremony at the city's Echo Arena, but issued a statement thanking those who voted for him Photo: GETTY IMAGES
The 42-year-old Englishman received 100 million votes – more than all the night's other winners combined – to take the title ahead of international stars such as U2, Britney Spears and The Beatles.
Astley's career has enjoyed an unlikely revival in recent years thanks to an internet trend known as Rickrolling, in which people are tricked into watching his videos by clicking on more enticingly-labelled links.
His 1987 hit Never Gonna Give You Up now been watched more than 20 million times on YouTube, winning over a new generation of fans who have now handed him MTV glory.
Astley's name was not included on the original award shortlist, but the public were allowed to nominate their own favourites and a groundswell of support quickly built up around the Lancastrian.
"We've been well and truly Rickrolled," Richard Godfrey, a senior vice-president at MTV and executive producer of the awards said. "We wanted to see who our audience would nominate and, given that we're in Liverpool, we thought it would be someone like the Beatles. But before the nominations were even announced he shot into the lead."
Astley did not attend the awards ceremony at the city's Echo Arena, but issued a statement thanking those who voted for him.
"I am honoured that my fans worked so hard to help me win Best Act Ever at the 2008 MTV Europe Music Awards," he said.
"This is the first time I have been nominated for the EMAs and I would like to thank everyone who voted for me."