Sunday 15 December 2019

More heartbreak for Celine as brother dies days after husband

GRIEVING: Celine Dion lost her husband Rene Angelil to throat cancer last Thursday. Photo: Frank Micelotta/Getty Images.
GRIEVING: Celine Dion lost her husband Rene Angelil to throat cancer last Thursday. Photo: Frank Micelotta/Getty Images.

Elizabeth Roberts in Montreal

Daniel Dion, the older brother of pop singer Celine Dion, died yesterday, just two days after the death of the entertainer's husband, Rene ww.

Celine Dion's representative Kim Jakwerth released a statement that Daniel Dion (59) died surrounded by his family after battling cancer for several years. The statement said he died at a palliative care center in Terrebonne, Quebec, outside Montreal.

The family is "remembering a gentle and reserved man of many talents," the statement said.

The announcement follows the death last Thursday of the 73-year-old Angelil in suburban Las Vegas after a long ballet with throat cancer.

Angelil was Celine Dion's manager for decades, molding her from a French-speaking Canadian ingénue into one of the world's most successful singers, best known for the smash hit "My Heart Will Go On," the theme from Titanic.

When Dion was 18, Angelil remade her image by changing her hair and capping her teeth, and enroll in English school so she could record songs for the US market.

Daniel Dion, the father of two daughters, was the eighth of 14 Dion children. The Dion siblings, including Celine, performed at their parents' small piano bar called Le Vieux Baril ("The Old Barrel") in the town of Charlemagne, Quebec.

Angelil's funeral is set to take place at Montreal's Notre Dame Basilica next Saturday, the same church where he married the singer in 1994.

Daniel Dion's religious funeral will be held several days later at a church in the family's hometown of Charlemagne.

The Canadian entertainment manager, who discovered Dion (47) when she was 12-years-old and drove her career to stardom.

The couple have three sons, Rene-Charles, (14), and 5-year-old twins Nelson and Eddy.

Angelil's illness, first diagnosed in 1999, prompted Dion to put her career on hold in 2014, suspending her Las Vegas residency. Dion said he supported her later return to the stage.

"My condolences to @CelineDion, and to the children, friends and loved ones of Rene Angelil on his passing," Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau tweeted. In his native Montreal, flags were flying at half-staff in honor of Angelil, praised by the city's mayor as a man who "never forgot his roots."

Angelil stepped down as Dion's manager in 2014, turning her career over to a friend of the couple but he remained involved in business decisions.

US Senator Harry Reid on Nevada said the couple took a "risk on Las Vegas" in 2002 by committing to an extended show contract, a move he said was unprecedented for a star of her caliber at the time.

"It was seen as a risk but it has forever changed the Las Vegas entertainment model as we now know it," Reid said in a statement.

Dion told Good Morning America in early 2015 that Angelil, who had throat cancer, had to eat with the help of a feeding tube three times a day, and was unable to talk or swallow.

Sunday Independent

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