Celine Dion said goodbye to her husband Rene Angelil this week, delivering an emotional speech during a public celebration of life for Angelil held at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on Feb. 3. You can watch a portion of Dion's remarks by using the media player included with this article.
"On behalf of my family, thank you again for being here with us this evening for this beautiful tribute," an emotional Dion said as she addressed the crowd of friends, colleagues and fans that packed the theatre that was specifically designed for her "A New Day" concerts when she first started her Vegas residency in 2003.
Among those supporting the singer and her family on Wednesday were journalist Robin Leach, Caesars Palace president Gary Selesner, and Ken Ehrlich, the director of Dion's current residency project "Celine." Legendary producer David Foster was in attendance to perform "The Color of Love," which Dion and Angelil chose as their song more than two decades ago.
Dion met Angelil in 1980 and he became her manager; it wasn't until 1987 that they were a couple. The duo announced their engagement four years later and were married on Dec. 17, 1994 in their native Canada. Their enduring love affair remained strong despite various adversities that were in the couple's way throughout.
They spent years struggling to conceive a child, with Dion undergoing two small procedures at a fertility clinic in 2000 after in vitro fertilization had failed them. Finally she gave birth to a son, Rene-Charles, on Jan. 25, 2001. Nine years later, Angelil announced that they were expecting twins, and sons Eddy and Nelson entered the world on Oct. 23, 2010.
But Angelil had been fighting cancer as early as 1999. He appeared in the video for pop-punk band Simple Plan's ballad "Save You," which featured survivors of the disease. His throat cancer returned in 2013, leading him to undergo surgery in December of that year, and by June 2015 he opted to step down as his wife's manager as his health battle continued.
Dion publicly announced in September that her husband had but months to live, and he passed away on Jan. 14 after which he was granted a national funeral in the same church in which they were married. In a further cruel twist of fate, Dion's brother Daniel also died of cancer just two days after her husband.
Despite her losses, Dion has been working on a new French-language album since October and expressed her desire to continue performing. She will resume her residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace beginning on Tuesday, Feb. 23. Tickets and more information for all of her upcoming shows are available on her events page at AXS.
For more on Celine Dion, visit her artist page at AXS.