After 16 years, Celine Dion ended her Las Vegas residency with a heartfelt tribute to her late husband and manager, René Angélil.
The 51-year-old Grammy-winning singer took the stage to perform her 1,141st and last concert at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace to a sold-out crowd of nearly 4,300 people on Saturday, June 8.
Inviting her three sons to the stage, Rene-Charles, 18, Nelson and Eddy, both 8, she honored her husband with a rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” as a slideshow with photos of her late husband and their family were shown on a screen.
“I'm both proud and humbled by what we've accomplished at the Colosseum since we began 16 years ago, when René and I first shared this dream," Dion told the audience. “This entire experience has been a huge part of my show business career...one that I will cherish forever. I have so many people to thank, but the most important ‘thank you' goes to my fans, who gave us the opportunity to do what we love."
Performing her hits "My Heart Will Go On," "The Power of Love," and "Because You Loved Me,” Dion also debuted a new song from her upcoming album Courage called “Flying on My Own.”
“What was the hardest for me is that, as you all know it's very easy for me to cry, but I did not want to cry because I wanted to prove to myself, I wanted to prove to myself that I didn't want the tears and the emotion to take over my strength that I feel," she said backstage, according to Entertainment Tonight. “Flying on my own, this is a new chapter. René will always remain in my life.”
Over the course of her nearly two-decade-long Las Vegas residency, Angélil, as well as their three children, were frequently spotted supporting the singer at Caesar's Palace, at times even joining her on stage.
In 2016, at the age of 73, Angélil passed away following a long battle with cancer. He and Dion had been married for 21 years.
Speaking to CBS’s Mo Rocca in 2016, Dion admitted that although it was difficult for and her family to watch Angelil's health deteriorate, she is glad he is no longer suffering.
“Before he left, it was very, very difficult for all of us,” she said. “For me especially, and my children, to see the man of my life die a little bit more every day. And when he left, it was kind of a relief for me that the man that I love, the only man that I kissed, the only man that I loved. Yeah. I never kissed another man in my life. So the man of my life was my partner, and we were one. So when he stopped suffering, I said to myself, he’s okay. And he deserves not to suffer.”
When asked if she thinks she will fall in love again in the future, Dion responded, “not now.”
“I love. I love. I love him,” she said. “I’m still in love with him. And I have the love of my children. I have the love of my fans. I love the people that I work with. So my life is not empty of love. But there’s a song from Sia, ‘I go to sleep and imagine that you’re there with me.’ And I go to bed with him. And I come on stage with him. And so I’m still married to him.”