Rene Angelil, Celine Dion’s husband of 21 years, died Thursday after a long battle with throat cancer. He passed away in his Henderson, Nevada home.
The romance between Angelil and Celine is one of the most enduring in the music industry. They met when she was only 12 years, and before becoming her husband, he was her mentor and manager.
— Robin Leach (@Robin_Leach) January 15, 2016
Celine recalled the loving relationship between her and her spouse, noted the Mirror. He discovered the Titanic singer in 1980 after her brother sent a demo tape to the famous record producer. She recalled, “I went to his office and I sang in front of him and I was 12 years old, and we’ve been working together since that time. So maybe at 17, 18 years old, my feeling started to change for him. I kind of saw him differently.”
In 1987, their relationship blossomed into something more. They became engaged in 1991 and married in 1994 at Notre Dame Basilica, in Montreal, Quebec and later had three children, a son in 2001 and two more sons, twin boys, in 2010.
— EntertainmentTonight (@etnow) January 15, 2016
The May-December romance between Angelil and Dion beat all odds. In the beginning her own mother did not think it was ideal and wanted something different for her daughter. The singer recalled, “It was very difficult for her. When I told her I had some really strong feelings for Rene she tried everything to kill him and make me snap out of it.” Dion’s mother also told her Angelil was not the right man, as he had been married twice before and had three children. After the marriage, eventually, Angelil was was accepted by the singer’s family.
Dion and Angelil struggled with fertility issues throughout their marriage, eventually conceiving their first child in 2001, followed by twins in 2010. The “My Heart Will Go On” singer revealed that she was pregnant with triplets but miscarried one of the babies.
Angelil was initially diagnosed with throat cancer in 1998. When the cancer recurred, Dion took leave from her Las Vegas residency to take care of him. She returned to the stage in August 2014 at his insistence and encouragement, sharing what kept her going during the hard times, noted US magazine. Celine spoke of the challenges of having to take care of the only “boyfriend” she ever had, as he had always been the one who took charge.
I’m trying really hard to show my children that sickness and things happen in life. You cannot be crying and be depressed and consistently talk about it. Unfortunately there’s a lot of people struggling with battles. When you have family around I think it helps tremendously.
Before returning to the stage, the iconic singer spoke lovingly of her husband.
Rene is a champion. I loved him all my life. I don’t want to sound pretentious, but I am his favorite singer and he wants to see me back on the stage singing again! Whatever life imposes — sickness, or whatever, you don’t have a choice. This is life, this is nature. But you do have the choice on how you’re going to go through this.
Although Angelil stepped down from managing his wife in 2014, he remained her greatest supporter, and his last wish was for her to be with him when he died. They discussed his fears, and she assured him that all would be well. She commented that he had been in charge with the details of her career for many years, but she had to assume a new role during his illness.
Dion has asked for privacy at this time and has promised to provide details surrounding her husband’s death in the future.
The legendary music manager, Angelil, is also survived by his wife, and their three children, Rene-Charles, 14, and 5-year-old twins Eddy and Nelson. He is also survived by three children from two previous marriages, Patrick, Jean-Pierre and Anne-Marie.
[Photo via Ethan Miller/Getty]