Celine Dion’s husband, René Angélil, has died of cancer, the singer announced Thursday.
The announcement was posted to Dion’s website:
René Angélil, 73, passed away this morning at his home in Las Vegas after a long and courageous battle against cancer. The family requests that their privacy be respected at the moment; more details will be provided at a later time.
Angélil, who guided Dion’s career as her manager, is survived by the couple’s three children, including 5-year-old twins. He is also survived by two adult children from a previous relationship.
Dion began working with Angélil at the age of 12 after she composed a French song for a demo tape with her mother and one of her brothers. The tape was brought to the attention of Angélil, a well-respected personal manager, who was so taken by Celine’s voice that he launched an effort to make her a star, going so far as to mortgage his house to finance her debut album, according to her biography.
The following year, Dion began to receive gold medals and world recognition for her singing. Angélil continued to manage her career, and in 1994 the couple married. In interviews, Dion said their relationship was based on “true love.” The couple celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary last month.
In 1999, Angélil was diagnosed with throat cancer, but, after aggressive treatment, was declared cancer free in 2000, when the couple renewed their vows in a lavish celebration. But in 2013, Dion and Angélil learned the cancer had returned.
In a recent appearance on Good Morning America, Dion also revealed that Angélil had to be fed through a feeding tube, telling host Deborah Roberts, “We are taking life one day at a time, [but] we are choosing to live.”
Dion’s shows scheduled for Jan. 16 and Jan. 17 at Caesars Palace were canceled.
Canadian singer Celine Dion and her husband, René Angélil, pose on the red carpet in 2012.