11/28/2012 02:30 pm ET

Buddy Guy Kennedy Center Honors: Chicago Blues Legend To Be Honored For Life's Work

After a lifetime of work in which he pioneered the Chicago Blues sound, Buddy Guy is getting honored by the Kennedy Center.

The influential guitarist and Chicago bluesman will receive the prestigious national aware for his lifetime contribution to the arts, according to the Associated Press.

(View the all of the 2012 Kennedy Center Honorees below.)

On Tuesday, Chicago's Blues community sent Guy off in style as he prepared to travel to Washington, D.C. to accept the honor. At the Pritzker Pavillion in Millennium Park, WBEZ reports Eddy Clearwater, the Blues Kids of America and several other musicians performed and congratulated the icon on his honor.

“Everybody was so willing to participate and wanted to show their love and be a part of something really special for a very special man,," Michelle Boone, commissioner of the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, told WBEZ.

"Chicago, thank you very much, I love you and I'll never leave -- I'll leave but I'll be back," Guy said at the sendoff, according to ABC Chicago.

(Read more about the Kennedy Center Honors.)

Originally from Lettsworth, La., WBEZ noted the highlights of Guy's history in Chicago, including the fact that 76-year-old still performs at his South Loop club, Buddy Guy's Legends, whenever he's in town.

Kennedy Center Honors are the nation's highest honor bestowed on those who have influenced American culture through the arts, the AP noted.

The Gala will be broadcast on CBS on December 26, 2012 at 8 p.m.

2012 Kennedy Center Honorees