René Angélil dies at 73 (1942—2016)
Céline Dion’s husband
By John Symon – mtltimes.ca
René Angélil, a notable figure in the Quebec music scene, passed away on January 14 of throat cancer; he was 73. While well known in his own right as a singer and manager, Angélil is perhaps best known for marrying Quebec diva Céline Dion.
Born in Montreal to a Syrian father and a Lebanese mother, Angélil formed a band to do French adaptations of Beatles songs in the 1960s. After his band broke up, Angélil became a manager for various Quebec musicians including René Simard and Ginette Reno. In 1987, he heard a Céline Dion demo tape and soon became her manager. Despite a 26-year age difference, the two married in 1994 in an extravagant wedding at Notre Dame Basilica in Old Montreal. It was Dion’s first marriage and Angélil’s third.
Angélil also dabbled in the restaurant business, becoming co-owner of Schwartz’s Deli in 2012 and other restaurants.
Reputedly an avid poker player, Angélil also had a series of health incidents including a heart attack at age 51 and throat cancer at age 56 from which it first seemed he had made a full recovery. But in 2013, the throat cancer returned and in late 2015 it was announced that his situation was terminal. Angélil died Thursday in Las Vegas, Nevada two days short of his 74th birthday. He is survived by his wife, three sons she bore him, three children from previous marriages, and seven grandchildren.
The Times expresses its condolences to the family.