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René Angelil, Céline Dion's Beloved Husband, Dies at 73

Rene Angelil celine dion
AP Photo/Richard Drew

The man behind Dion's success passed away after a long battle with cancer

Rene Angelil, music producer and husband of Celine Dion, died on Thursday after a long battle with throat cancer. A representant for Dion announced the news in a statement:

"Rene Angelil, 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."

Angelil was instrumental in Dion's rise to stardom. A fomer pop singer, Angelil discovered Dion in 1981, when she was just 12 years old, and became her manager. Angelil put a mortgage on his house to help produce her first record, and encouraged her to take English lessons to reach international fame.

The pair began dating when Dion was 19, as she began emerging as a promising vocal talent in France and Canada. Their wedding, a lavish ceremony, was broadcast on national television in December 1994. Together, they had three children: 14-year-old Rene-Charles, and 5-year-old twins Nelson and Eddy. Angelil also has three adult children from a previous marriage.

Angelil's health was a constant concern for Dion: In 2014, she announced that she was putting her career on a hiatus to care for her husband, who was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1999. Dion returned to her residency in Las Vegas on August 27, 2015, with performances scheduled through June.

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