Paul Morigi / WireImage 1 / 13
Paul Morigi / WireImage 1 / 13

Mariah's man is on the mend!

A healthy Nick Cannon ascended the stage at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. Saturday night for the BET Honors -- his first public appearance since his hospitalization and surgery for "mild kidney failure."  (Cannon left an Aspen, Colo. hospital last weekend.)

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Carrying son Moroccan Scott, 8 months, the 31-year-old "America's Got Talent" host presented his wife (clad in a form-fitting nude and black gown) Mariah Carey with an entertainer award and jokingly explained why Monroe, Moroccan's twin sister, was backstage.

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"She's a diva like her mama." Added Carey: "We were both sewn into our dresses, so she couldn't make it out."

But Cannon paid emotional tribute to his wife (a "hero," he said) for tending to him during his illness -- making him soup at 3 a.m. "when my kidneys ain't acting right."

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"What most people don't get to experience is the human," he said at the podium. "To know you guys are honoring her tonight, I have to continue to honor her every day."