Céline Dion Clings to Her Son as She Leaves Open-Casket Visitation for Husband René Angélil
Céline Dion is coping with the loss of her beloved husband René Angélil, followed by the death of her brother just two days later. Click here for the full story, only in PEOPLE.
The 47-year-old singer clung to her teenage son René-Charles and another family member leaving the Notre Dame Basilica, where hundreds of mourners attended the open-casket visitation for René.
“The support we’ve received has been such a blessing,” Dion told PEOPLE on Thursday at the memorial.
Dion stood by her stepsons, Patrick and Jean-Pierre Angélil, in a line at the open-casket service as thousands of mourners waited in the freezing cold to pay their respects to the late Angélil.
“Céline is Quebec. She is an ambassador for Quebec. And this was her great love, and we had to be there for her. They’re inseparable,” Judith Picard, of Montreal, told PEOPLE of why she waited for more than three hours to meet Dion. “They’re like one person, and now she lost half of herself. So I feel for her. And he was such a great man, and he was such a great soul. We had to celebrate his life coming here today.”
The music manager died on Jan. 14 at the age of 73 “after a long and courageous battle against cancer,” his rep previously confirmed to PEOPLE.
For much more on Dion and Angélil’s love story and how the singer is focusing on the couple’s children, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.
PEOPLE spoke to Dion and Angélil’s longtime friend, Canadian TV personality Julie Snyder, who recalled Angélil’s enduring love for his wife.
“He was so proud of her. ‘Did you hear Céline last night? Did you see that? She was so great! She hit the note!’ ” Snyder said. “He was still impressed with Céline. He was still telling me, ‘You know, she’s singing very well.’ ”
Angélil’s funeral is scheduled for Friday at 3 p.m. at the Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal.