Celiné Dion’s husband René Angélil died in the couple’s Las Vegas home Thursday after an 18-year battle with throat cancer. The former manager was 73.
After first being reported by People, Dion confirmed the news in a post on her official site. “The family requests that their privacy be respected at the moment,” the statement read. “More details will be provided at a later time.”
Angélil suffered from three bouts of cancer since his diagnosis in 1998, but had been in remission at one point for a decade, having appeared in Simple Plan’s 2008 “Save You” video that paid tribute to cancer survivors. Over the last few years, his condition worsened, causing the French-Canadian singer to take a year-long hiatus from her long-running, successful Las Vegas residency at Caesars Palace.
She returned in late August, already discussing the imminent prospect of her husband’s passing. “René really gave me a gift,” she told USA Today around the time of her return to Caesars. “All my grieving, it was during this last year. I think I’ve got this. For now. 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.'”
According to TMZ, Dion’s weekend shows at Caesars have already been canceled. As of now, she is scheduled to return to her residency on February 23rd.
Angélil and Dion first met when the singer was 12 years old after her brother sent recordings of her music to the manager. He mortgaged his home to help launch her career. In 1994, the pair married and have raised three children — 14-year-old René-Charles and 5-year-old twins Nelson and Eddy.
Prior to Dion, he had been married twice before and has three adult children from his two previous marriages. While based in Québec, Angélil had also managed Canadian pop singers René Simard and Ginette Rino. Dion was his most successful artist, however, becoming an international vocal phenomenon and selling over 200 million albums during her career.