The song, penned by Pink, is a tender tune about moving on from the pain of loss and grief. The 48-year-old singer dedicated her performance to her late husband René Angélil, who died in January of throat cancer at the age of 74.
It was also for her 59-year-old brother, Daniel Dion – who passed away two days later of brain, throat and tongue cancer. And for her father, Adhémar Dion, who died in 2003 at the age of 80 from cancer as well.
“I miss René every day and the loss will now be a part of my life,” Dion said before her tearful performance, explaining how she also lost her father and brother to the disease.
She then went on to reveal how “Recovering” found its way to her.
Said Dion: “A few months ago during my most difficult time of grieving, I received an unexpected gift from an amazing artist that I have always admired – Pink. She offered me a song that expresses power to stand up and stay strong. The most wonderful song is called ‘Recovering.’ ”
Céline Dion on Life Since Losing Husband René Angelil: ‘It’s Not Living Without Him, It’s Living with Him Differently’
During the heart-wrenching final verses of the song, images of Dion with her husband, brother, and father began projecting behind the singer.
The moment was one of the many highlights of the fifth annual star-studded special, which was simultaneously broadcasted on CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox.
Bradley Cooper served as executive producer for the 60-minute live telecast, and spent much of the evening emceeing the action onstage. Off-stage, he was just as involved – whispering words of encouragement to cancer survivors before and after their segments.
Keith Urban also took the stage Friday for a live performance alongside fellow country stars Little Big Town. They paid tribute to the late David Bowie – who died of cancer at the age of 69 – by singing his hit song “Heroes.”
Other celebrities who participated in the event included Viola Davis, Jon Hamm, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Matt Bomer, Dave Franco, Sonequa Martin-Green, Rob Riggle, Tony Hale, Terry Crews, Mel B and Bree Turner.
“He was full of hope up to the end,” Biden said, of Beau. “He learned what we’re learning tonight. We’re at a tipping point in the fight against cancer. We are on the cusp of ending cancer as we know it.”
Stand Up to Cancer launched in 2008 and counts Katie Couric among its co-founders. Its mission is to enlist the entertainment industry in the fight for a cure.
Four telethons have been broadcast in the U.S. and have been made available to more than 190 countries. To date, over $370 million has been pledged to support cancer research programs, with the initial 2008 event raising more than $100 million alone.
• Reporting by REAGAN ALEXANDER