HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 27: Singer Celine Dion (R) and manager Rene Angelil arrive at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards held at the Kodak Theatre on February 27, 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
“For three years, my husband did not have a sip of water or food. He was eating through a tube,” Dion said. “The only thing I hoped while he was in three years of agony: I wanted him to live in peace. I wanted him to feel so light and no worries. He had a little heart attack. It’s so quick; he didn’t even feel anything. I thought that he was like liberated from his pain.”
“He’s the only man I’ve seen. The only man I’ve loved. The only man I’ve kissed,” the Canadian added.
Angélil — with whom Dion shared sons René-Charles Angélil, 17, and twins Eddy and Nelson Angélil, 7 — died two days before his 74th birthday and days before the death of Dion’s brother, Daniel Dion. As Dion’s longtime music manager, Angélil had always had a role in her life personally and professionally.
Dion has a bronze replica of Angélil’s hand that she brings along to every one of her performances. With two Las Vegas residencies that combined have spanned well over a decade and counting, she’s had many performances with his hand in hers since his passing.
Dion put her residency on hold during her husband’s bout with cancer, but it was Angélil’s constant support even through his illness that quickly led Dion back to the stage.
“I shake my husband’s hand and knock on wood with him every night before every show,” Dion, 49, told The Daily Telegraph. “Even after he’s gone, I still talk to him.”
A month before Angélil’s death, the longtime couple celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary.
“My husband wanted me to go back onstage before he passed; that’s what he wanted the most,” Dion said. “So I went back onstage while he was still alive; he wanted to make sure I could keep going. So I did prove to him (that), yes, I could keep going. I told him I’ve got the kids and that he’s got to trust me, he’s got to relax.
“He taught me so much. He did a great job; what he had been giving to me all his life and all my life will always be with me. He gave me his all. He mortgaged his house to pay for my first album. I guess before he left he wanted to make sure I was fine. I’m trying to prove to him every day I’m fine. Our kids are growing. We feel strong. We’re good.”