Celine Dion says tearful goodbye to husband Rene-Charles during state ceremony in Montreal
Published 23/01/2016 | 10:34
Celine Dion and her three children have paid a final tribute to her husband Rene Angelil, who passed away last week after a long battle with cancer.
Celine's 14-year-old son Rene-Charles made his mum proud at the funeral of his father Rene in Montreal, Canada yesterday by delivering a heartfelt tribute and a promise to live up to his dad's standards.
The teenager arrived at the Notre-Dame Basilica with his mother and twin brothers, Nelson and Eddy, and comforted Celine throughout the service, which was streamed online and telecast in Canada. The family were also joined by Angelil's adult sons Patrick and Jean-Pierre from a previous marriage.
The singer looked on proudly as Rene-Charles addressed the thousands of mourners first in French and then in English.
He said, "Fifteen years is not a long time for a son to get to know his father."
The teen then attempted to lighten the mood in the church as he talked about sharing his late dad's passion for golf, poker and "smoked meats".
"You left me now with enough good memories of you to share with my younger brothers," he added.
"I'll make sure to pass on what I've learned from you.
"You are a tough act to follow... but I promise you here that we're all going to live up to your standards."
His speech drew applause from the masses, as he returned to sit next to his mother.
The boy's father, Rene Angelil, lost his battle with cancer last week, aged 73.
The location of the funeral, held a day after hundreds of fans paid their last respects to Rene during a memorial at the same church, was a special place for the family - it was the setting for Rene and Celine's wedding and Rene-Charles was baptised there.
It's been a difficult time for Celine as the singer lost her brother Daniel two days after Rene, following his battle with cancer.
Angelil started out as a singer in the 1960s, forming Montreal, Canada pop rock group The Baronets with his childhood friend Pierre Labelle. He went into management when the band split in the 1970s, and represented fellow Quebec entertainers Rene Simard and Ginette Reno, among other pop acts.
He won the Felix Award for Manager of the Year in 1987 and 1988, but his career really took off when he discovered Celine Dion as a pre-teen. Rene helped the French-speaking singer develop her signature sound throughout her teens and they fell in love, marrying in December, 1994. Celine, who is 26 years younger than her husband, became his third wife.
Angelil suffered a string of medical setbacks over the past two decades - he had a heart attack in 1992 and underwent cancer surgery in 1998. He also battled and beat throat cancer, but the disease returned in 2013, forcing him to undergo surgery again. The health crisis forced him to step down as Dion's manager, and in September, 2015, his wife revealed that Angelil's cancer was terminal.
Celine and her manager of over 30 years wed in 1994.