AEG President and CEO Tim Leiweke received the City of Hope 2009 Spirit of Life Award Wednesday night at a benefit that raised $9 million dollars for the cancer research center.

Leiweke's accomplishments in philanthropy and in civic renewal - in particular the L.A. Live complex in downtown Los Angeles - were highlighted repeatedly throughout the event, which drew not only entertainment luminaries, but Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and almost the entire Los Angeles City Council.

"I am very embarrassed," Leiweke said upon accepting the award. "I just went out and gave speeches and fought the city attorney and almost went to jail" — a reference to the ongoing battle between Los Angeles city officials and AEG over paying costs for Michael Jackson's funeral.

More than 1,700 people attended the dinner. "I've never seen a room so powerful," said former Los Angeles Laker Magic Johnson. "You got everybody: the music industry, the movie industry, politicians, billionaires, millionaires and wannabe millionaires."

AEG has a long-standing relationship with the City of Hope, which is located in Duarte, Calif., just outside Los Angeles. A portion of the proceeds from a number of AEG tours, including KISS, Miley Cyrus, Justin Timberlake, Aventura, "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance" are donated to the research and treatment center. Rob Light, CAA's head of music and City of Hope's National Campaign Co-Chair, said that Cyrus alone raised more than $3.5 million for the organization.

Entertainment was provided by Jon Bon Jovi, who went acoustic for a set at the end of the event, which was the premiere event at L.A. Live's brand new Marriott-Ritz Carlton hotel-convention center complex.

Leiweke said he had perfect confidence that City of Hope would find a cure for cancer in our lifetimes, and ended his remarks by telling City of Hope's President and CEO Dr Michael A. Friedman to "cure the damn thing."