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Rene Angelil, Celine Dion's husband and manager, dies of cancer

Celine Dion and Rene Angelil in 2006.

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Celine Dion and Rene Angelil in 2006.



He was an accomplished singer and music industry executive. He dabbled as a professional poker player. And he cut quite a debonair figure on many a red carpet.

But odds are if you knew Rene Angelil's name or face, it was because of his longtime marriage to Celine Dion.

Angelil, 73, died Thursday morning at home in Las Vegas "after a long and courageous battle against cancer," according to a statement on Dion's website.

Angelil, married Dion, 26 years his junior, in 1994, but their professional relationship stretches long before that. He discovered the French Canadian singer when she was just 12, and, so the story goes, mortgaged his house to finance her first album. They were reportedly dating by the time she turned 19.

Angelil guided Dion to astonishing success as a singer, selling more than 200 million albums worldwide, winning five Grammys and dominating the world with singles like My Heart Will Go On and It's All Coming Back To Me Now.

Their May-December romance was frequent tabloid fodder, often for reasons more tragic than titillating. The couple struggled for years to conceive children before having a son, Rene-Charles, in 2001, and twins, Nelson and Eddy, in 2010. Angelil has also suffered from serious medical problems for more than 20 years, suffering a heart attack in 1992, receiving a diagnosis of throat cancer in 1998, and experiencing years of surgeries and declining health over the past decade.

In 2014, Dion took a yearlong break from her Las Vegas residency to care for Angelil. In November, shortly before their 21st anniversary, she told ABC's Good Morning America she never had any regrets about putting her career on hold to care for Angelil.

"I've been very amazed all my life about my husband. That's why I married him," she said. "I'm amazed of him even more than ever before. I was in love with him the first day, and today I find the strength and I look at him and I learn so much from him."

-- Jay Cridlin

[Last modified: Thursday, January 14, 2016 5:13pm]


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