René Angélil, husband of Céline Dion, has died
René Angélil, the husband of singer Céline Dion, died Thursday.
“René Angélil, 73, passed away this morning at his home in Las Vegas after a long and courageous battle against cancer,” Dion’s publicist confirmed to CNN.
“The family requests that their privacy be respected at the moment; more details will be provided at a later time,” according to a post on Dion’s website.
Angélil, Dion’s longtime collaborator, stepped aside as his wife’s manager in June 2014 because of his battle with cancer. That August, Dion put her career on a temporary hold to help him fight the disease.
The Clark County Coroner’s Office said Angelil died from throat cancer.
“We have determined Mr. Angelil’s death was due to natural causes. No further investigation into his death is expected,” the coroner said in a statement.
Dion and Angélil met after the always-singing 12-year-old Dion recorded a demo and one of her brothers sent it to Angélil, who was a fledgling producer at the time. When Angélil didn’t reply, the Dions called him directly to listen to it.
That prompted Angélil to audition Dion in January 1981, and once he heard her, he mortgaged his house to pay for her debut album, “La Voix du Bon Dieu.”
By 1988, she was a star — and an adult. Dion won the top prize at the Eurovision song contest, held that year in Dublin, Ireland. That’s when they fell in love, Angelil said on CNN’s “Larry King Live.”
In 1992, “Celine Dion” hit the stores and produced four chart toppers, including a duet with Peabo Bryson for the Disney movie “Beauty and the Beast.”
“And that was our key to America, at that point, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ was our first real hit in America,” Vito Luprano, then-senior vice president of artists and relations for Sony Music Canada, said at the time.
The duet won an Academy Award and a Grammy. At the time, Dion was 24.
A lavish wedding, children, more hit records and the top hit, “My Heart Will Go On” for the movie “Titanic,” followed. As did her current Las Vegas residency.
Angélil is survived by his wife and the couple’s three children, René-Charles, 14, and 5-year-old twins Nelson and Eddy — and his adult children from a previous relationship, Anne-Marie, Jean-Pierre and Patrick.