Céline Dion is breaking her silence following the tragic deaths of her husband, René Angelil, and brother, Daniel, who both passed away this month after losing battles with cancer.
Dion took to her official website on January 29 to issue an official statement regarding the sad passing of her husband and brother, in which Céline revealed that she had been “deeply touched” by the messages she’s received from fans at this incredibly sad time.
Signing off the statement with the names of her three children with Angelil, René-Charles, Nick and Eddy, as well as René’s three children from a previous relationship, Patrick, Jean-Pierre and Anne-Marie, Dion described the past few weeks as a “most difficult time.”
“My family and I are deeply touched by the outpouring of love and support from so many people who have touched our lives during these past few days,” Céline Dion wrote on her official website. “We have felt your love for René, and your prayers and compassion have helped us during this most difficult time… more than you’ll ever know. I thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Dion said.
Dion also thanked “the many individuals and organizations who came together to hold such a beautiful tribute in his name.” Céline also expressed her gratitude for the Quebec government in the short piece, as they honored her late husband with a state funeral on January 21.
“We will never forget all of the kindness that you have bestowed upon us,” Céline Dion emotionally closed the piece. At the time of René’s funeral, fan Judith Picard of Montreal told People that she waited three hours to meet Céline Dion at the emotional service.
“Céline Dion is Quebec. She is an ambassador for Quebec. And this was her great love, and we had to be there for her. They’re inseparable,” Picard told People following the funeral service. “They’re like one person, and now she lost half of herself. So I feel for her. And he was such a great man, and he was such a great soul. We had to celebrate his life coming here today.”
The state funeral came just days after Céline also lost her brother, Daniel, whom Entertainment Tonight reported passed away from brain, tongue and throat cancer. While Céline Dion is understandably staying out of the spotlight as she grieves the passing of her family members, People is reporting that Dion is “heartbroken” by the loss but is still expected to return to the stage as part of her popular “Céline” Las Vegas residency shows on February 23.
“That’s what René would want. He wants her to perform and come back,” a source recently told People of Dion’s plans to return to work. “He knew her better than anybody and he probably knows that’s what she needs too, to perform.”
Céline previously revealed that her late husband continually pushed her to sing, even while he was battling cancer. “It was René’s wish that I come back,” Céline Dion said in August 2015 after returning to Las Vegas after taking some time away to care for her ailing husband.
“While my family will always be my priority, my fans are just as important to me.” Dion later echoed that statement to USA Today last year, where she spoke candidly about René’s wishes for her to continue singing.
“I didn’t want to be here at first, I don’t need it. Don’t get me wrong, I love singing for people, but I have priorities… But René really gave me a gift,” Céline said at the time.
“All my grieving, it was during this last year. I think I’ve got this. For now,” Céline Dion added in the interview. “When it hits me, it’s going to hit me. But my biggest job is to tell my husband, we’re fine. I’ll take care of our kids. You’ll watch us from another spot.”
[Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for The UCLA Department of Head and Neck Surgery]