LAS VEGAS (CelebrityAccess) — René Angélil, pop singer and music manager who guided Celine Dion's career and later married her, has died after a battle cancer. He was 73.
One of Quebec's best known entertainment figures, Angélil started out as a singer in Montreal, performing with the pop group The Baronets, who primarily recorded French-Canadian versions of American and British pop hits.
Following the dissolution of the group, Angélil ventured into management with his business partner Guy Cloutier, overseeing the careers of Quebec-based artists such as René Simard and Ginette Reno, but the two parted ways in 1980.
In 1981, Angélil heard a demo tape from a 12-year-old Celine Dion, wrested her away from her agent, Paul Lévesque and started to closely oversee every aspect of her career. Angélil mortgaged his home to help her record her first album, La voix du bon Dieu and earned a reputation for being jealously protective of his client and protege.
Under Angélil's close guidance, Dion would go on to become an international sensation, selling more than 250 million albums.
According to Angélil, he and Dion became romantically involved in 1988. In 1993, Angélil recounted to Dion's official biographer Georges-Hébert Germain that they consumated their relationship in Dublin on the night that Dion won the Eurovision Song Contest and the two would go on to marry in 1994.
In 1999, Angélil successfully underwent surgery to remove cancerous cells in his throat, however the cancer returned in 2013 and he again underwent surgery to have a tumor removed from his throat. After the operation, he was restricted to a feeding tube and Dion made headlines when she canceled dates for her Caesars Palace residency to care for him in their Las Vegas home.
Mr. Angélil is survived by his wife, Celine Dion, atheir three boys, René-Charles, Nelson and Eddy, and his three children from his first two marriages, Patrick, Jean-Pierre and Anne-Marie. – Staff Writers