Celine Dion’s husband Rene Angelil's dying wish was to watch her perform live. As the singer took the stage during her Las Vegas residency and belted out her huge hit “My Heart Will Go On” fromTitanic, she revealed in an interview with The Mirror that she was singing to her husband, who live-streamed her Las Vegas residency from home after being diagnosed with cancer a second time.
“It wasn’t therapeutic for me, it was therapeutic for Rene,” Dion, who has stated in the past that she was reluctant to record the popular track, told the outlet. “For him it was very important because I took a year off to take care of him but towards the end he said to me, ‘I need to see you go on stage and sing, I want to make sure, I need to see it.’”
Throughout their 21-year marriage, Angelil had suffered a multitude of health problems. In 1991, at the age of 49, he suffered a heart attack, and in 1999, he was diagnosed with throat cancer. Although Angelil went into remission, the cancer returned in 2013, and in 2016, at the age of 73, he passed away.
“It is like you’ve been hit suddenly. You’re never ready for it” Dion said of her loss. “It was hard and now I have to fly on my own. I always thought that I was strong, but I think I’m stronger than I thought. And it’s all because of the help and love and the knowledge Rene gave me.”
According to Dion, although her grief was strong, what kept her “going was that [she] thought of him," adding how everything she did was "for him.” Along with paying tribute to her late husband during her Las Vegas residency, she also released her latest album, Courage, her first English-language collection since Loved Me Back To Life in 2013, in memory of Angelil.
“He’s done so much for me and it’s something that tragically happened to the whole family, losing my manager, my best friend, my husband, the father of my kids. So for me to sing, it was not sad, it was just like, ‘OK I’m going to prove myself and he’s going to feel that because he’s with me,’” she said. “I lost a big part but I keep going because love will always win.”
“My Heart Will Go On,” one of Dion’s most famous songs, remains one of the most successful songs ever recorded. It won the 1998 Academy Award for Best Original song and also won Record of the year, Song of the Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, and Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television at the 1999 Grammy Awards.
Meanwhile, Dion’s Las Vegas residency is thought to have brought in between $450 million and $800 million.