Celine Dion joined fans of René Angélil’s as they paid their final respects during a visitation on Thursday at Notre-Dame Basilica in Old Montreal.
The 47-year-old performer hid her face behind a black veil but it was clear she was distraught and had tears in her eyes in a video shared by Global News. Also at the service was her mother Thérèse, 88, and René’s brother André as well as her eldest son René-Charles, aged 14.
Angélil died of throat cancer at the age of 73 on January 14. His funeral will be held on Friday at the same basilica.
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Mourning: Celine Dion joined fans of René Angélil’s as they paid their final respects during a visitation on Thursday at Notre-Dame Basilica in Old Montreal
A prayer before the last farewell: The singing sensation approached the open casket with her head down and wearing a black coat, gloves and pumps
A touching moment: The Grammy winner laid her left hand on her late husband as family gathered near
A tear-jerking moment: The Loved Me Back To Life star took a long look at her spouse, broke down in tears and wiped her face with a gloved hand
Her biggest supporter: By the performer’s side was her eldest son René-Charles, aged 14, who wore a dark suit and tie
So much pain: People magazine shed some light on the state of her mind this week: ‘Her heart is in pieces,’ a source told the publication. ‘There are no words. She’s in extreme grief right now. She’s extremely heartbroken. But she’s putting on a brave face’
At times she broke down in tears: The Because You Loved Me crooner was seen with a white handkerchief which she used often
The toughest day yet: The red-haired star broke down sobbing at one point as she stood next to a man
Facing a hard change: The manager had battled cancer on and off since 1999
The beauty made sure her makeup was done nicely as she greeted fan after fan with a handshake and sometimes a kiss. By the performer’s side was her eldest son with Angélil – René-Charles, who wore a dark suit and tie.
The show biz manager was lying in state from 2 pm until 9 p.m. at the basilica. Celine was supposed to stay only 30 minutes but she greeted well wishers for over two hours. Often she spent several minutes with strangers that had waited in line to have a word with the superstar.
The A New Day Has Come chart topper was seen approaching the casket where René laid peacefully. Her head was down and she seemed to be on the verge of tears.
His hands were put on top of each other and he had on a dark suit with white shirt and white tie.
Once by her husband’s side, Dion put her left hand on René’s shoulder in a heartbreaking moment.
Handling it with grace: The My Heart Will Go On hit maker put on a brave face as she grieved the loss of her husband of 21 years
A difficult day: The 47-year-old performer hid her face behind a black veil but it was clear she was distraught and had tears in her eyes in a video shared by Global News
She had time for others: The beauty made sure her makeup was done nicely as she greeted fan after fan with a handshake
She made time for so many people: Celine gave her attention to an elderly woman in a fur-trimmed parka
More tears: Dion was seen patiently listening to supporters as they lined up shake her hand and offer her tributes
Holding it together: Celine was supposed to stay for only 30 minutes but stayed at the visitation for over two hours
She was there for him: In the last year ‘the singer rarely left her husband’s side’ as he used a feeding tube, People magazine reported. ‘He had both good and bad days,’ a source said. ‘Some days he could get up and walk around the room, play with the kids. Some days he was too tired’
Time to grieve: Dion has taken a break from her Las Vegas residency and won’t be back on stage until February
His farewell: The music manager lay in an open casket as fans poured into the church to see him
There were flowers everywhere: An aerial view of the ceremony that saw hydrangeas in tall vases and ushers in the distance
Announcement: The singer used Twitter to inform her fans they could watch her husband’s state funeral online on Friday
Several times the star broke down in tears and used a white handkerchief to help her out.
Dion was dressed appropriately in a black coat over a black dress with opaque tights and pumps. She was seen with her veil both on and off. The beauty’s red tresses were pulled back into a ladylike bun.
Hundreds of people attended the service. It is believed Angélil’s adult children from a previous relationship – Anne-Marie, Patrick and Jean-Pierre – were also there.
People magazine shed some light on the state of her mind this week: ‘Her heart is in pieces,’ a source told the publication. ‘There are no words. She’s in extreme grief right now. She’s extremely heartbroken. But she’s putting on a brave face.’
In the last year ‘the singer rarely left her husband’s side’ as he used a feeding tube, People added. ‘He had both good and bad days,’ a source said. ‘Some days he could get up and walk around the room, play with the kids. Some days he was too tired.’
A national funeral for Angélil will be held Friday at the same church beginning at 3 p.m. The flag at the Quebec National Assembly will fly at half-mast.
The funeral will be officiated by the Most Reverend Christian Lépine, Archbishop of Montreal, according to the Gazette.
A last goodbye: Angélil’s well wishers lined up to pay their final respects during a visitation and police helped with crowd control
A sad farewell on a snowy day: René’s brother André was seen exiting the church with a woman
Last respect: Celine’s mother Thérèse Dion, 88, joined the mourners
Polite as can be: Thérèse was seen waving to fans as she was driven away from the service in a black car
Top brass: Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre also attended the service at the basilica
Also there: TV personality Julie Snyder (R) and Thomas Peladeau-Snyder (L) arrived side by side
Fans waited for hours: Hundreds of well wishes waiting in line to seen the open casket ceremony
Inside the location: Angélil died of throat cancer at the age of 73 on January 14. His funeral will be held on Friday afternoon
Outside: The exterior of the grand church in Montreal which sits on a tree-lined street
Preparations: Equipment was brought up to the steps of the church on Wednesday
The church also was the location of their happiest day: The two wed at the basilica in December 1994
Last week Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard announced a national funeral would be held to honour Angélil, who was born in Montreal.
‘We were all touched by the death of René Angélil,’ Couillard said. ‘Quebecers will have a chance to pay tribute to a man who had an impact on the cultural landscape of our nation.’
The couple are superstars in their native Canada and the funeral will be televised on three networks, according to TMZ.
In accordance with Rene’s wishes two of Celine’s songs will play during the service. The Canadian beauty will not sing at the memorial.
Angélil planned out his funeral so that the burden wouldn’t lie with the singer once he had passed.
René reportedly wanted everything prepared, even though he didn’t know when it would happen.
Céline’s stylist and longtime friend Annie Horth told People: ‘René was generous enough to prepare all of this since the last few months with Céline.’
Because of this, Céline is ‘going through [this] peacefully and with control,’ added Horth.
According to sources, René wanted to have his funeral at Notre-Dame Basilica.
A message posted to Facebook on Friday read: ‘According to his final wishes, his Funeral will be held at Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal, where 21 years ago, he chose to marry the one who will remain as the great love of his life, the artist for which he had the most respect, the woman who gave him light and happiness until his very last breath.’
They were devoted to each other: The couple together on the red carpet at the Veronic Voices premiere at Bally’s in Las Vegas in June 2013
An insider told People: ‘The whole funeral, that was all René’s wishes, he obviously wanted to have his funeral where he married the love of his life.
A memorial service for Angélil will take place February 3 in Las Vegas at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace.
Dion isn’t only grieving over the passing of her husband. Her brother also died this month. On January 16, just two days after René died, Daniel Dion lost his battle at aged 59 with brain, tongue and throat cancer.
The Dion family will then attend the funeral of Daniel on Tuesday.
Staying strong: Dion was seen for the first time since her husband’s January 14 death on Wednesday at the Las Vegas airport
On Wednesday Dion was seen for the first time since the death of her husband. The singer looked pale as she got hugs from friends before boarding a private jet in Las Vegas with her three children in tow.
The Grammy winner had her red locks pulled back into a severe bun and her face looked strained.
The Heart Will Go On hitmaker was dressed in head to toe black, including a turtleneck, leggings and to-the-knees high-heeled boots. The beauty also had on her wedding rings.
She was seen with several handlers as well as her three children: René-Charles, aged 14, and twins Nelson and Eddy, aged five.
Rene had endured a long fight against cancer before passing away just two days before his 74th birthday.
He had been married to Celine for 21 years and as well as serving as her manager since she was a teenager.
In the early years of their relationship: Celine (center) with René (left) and Eddy Marnay (right) in 1985
On Saturday DailyMail.com reported exclusively the performer used her Las Vegas show in recent weeks as a tribute to the man she loved, knowing that his long battle against cancer was close to being lost.
And he used it to make his final public appearance, clearly frail, but smiling and waving on a video he knew would be played to her fans.
The image of René was projected onto a screen the Las Vegas venue where Dion has been a performer in residence.
Her performances have been canceled until the end of February, but she was a trooper until the night before he died.
Celine is scheduled to perform at Caesars Palace on February 23 in Las Vegas.
Gone too soon: Dion isn’t only grieving over the passing of her husband. Her brother also died this month. On January 16, just two days after René died from throat cancer, Daniel Dion lost his battle at aged 59 with brain, tongue and throat cancer