Celine Dion’s husband and mentor-manager, René Angélil passed away this morning at the age of 73. Angélil battled throat cancer for many years. Thursday, Jan.14, 2016, Dion’s website confirmed he had died that morning in their Las Vegas home. At this time, the family has asked the public to kindly respect their privacy while they are in mourning.
In August, Dion, 47, told USA Today in an emotional interview that she had been taking care of her ailing husband and made a promise to be with him until he died. She said she would support “the only boyfriend I’ve ever had.” Angélil wanted to die in his wife’s arms and she accepted his request.
When Dion was 12 years old, she met Angélil who later would become her manager. He became Dion’s husband in 1994. They have three children together; René-Charles, 14, and fraternal twins, Nelson and Eddy who are five years old. Angélil has children from his previous marriages who are now adults; Patrick, Anne Marie, and Jean Pierre.
Angélil was sick for a number of years and for the past two years, he was on a feeding tube. He endured multiple procedures at different hospitals in Boston and then he returned to their home in Las Vegas.
In 1992, Angélil had a heart attack. In 1998, a lump was found on his neck and it was discovered to be malignant cancer. He had three bouts with cancer, even though a tumor was removed in December 2013, it came back with a vengeance.
Dion took a year off from touring and recording to care for her husband and at his request, she will be returning to Las Vegas’ Caesar’s Palace, stated USA Today.
Despite asking multiple times how long her husband had to live, Dion was not given a solid answer. So she began taking detailed notes on her husband’s wishes for his funeral.
Dion reminds people that Angélil has been her leader all her life and she owes her career to him. She has sold over 220 million albums. He wanted her to be able to work but really needed his wife’s help at home. It has been an emotional turmoil for both of them.
In the 60s, Angélil was a pop singer in a Canadian group called, The Baronets. The group did well, but eventually broke up. Then Angélil became a successful music manager. He discovered Dion in 1980 when he heard a demo tape sent to him by her mother. The song was written by Dion and her mother. Angélil mortgaged his home to pay for her debut, La Voix Du Bon Dieu. Her first English album was released in 1990.
In November 2015, Dion sang L’Hymne a L’Amour as a tribute to the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks at the American Music Awards. The Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau sent his condolences to her and her family Thursday.
In 1987, they developed a relationship; she was 19 and he was 45. In 1991, they were engaged and married in 1994 at Montreal’s Notre Dame basilica. USA Today wrote, “…She’ll also be remembered for her fortitude on behalf of her husband, and her grace in showing the world how it’s done.”
Dion told USA Today, “You have two choices. You look at your husband who’s very sick and you can’t help, and it kills you. Or you look at your husband that’s sick and you say, ‘I got you. I got it. I’m here. It’s going to be just fine.’” She added that when someone you love falls you do not cry, there is time for that later. Dion told People that she had to be strong for her husband and her children.
By Jeanette Smith
USA Today: Céline Dion’s husband René Angélil dies
People: Céline Dion’s Husband René Angélil Has Died ‘After a Long and Courageous Battle Against Cancer’
NBC News: Husband of Céline Dion, René Angélil, Dies After Cancer Battle
Image Courtesy of Serena’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License