Confession: I love Celine Dion and have since I was a child — so much so that I started teaching myself French at 11 years old because I wanted to be able to understand her French albums/interviews. Now, 20 years later, I still have a working fluency of the language because of that obsession, and while I haven’t listened to any of Celine’s new music in the past 15+ years, I still have fond memories of her. That’s got nothing to do with this story, but it feels particularly sad since it’s an entertainer I really loved at one point in my life.
Celine lost her husband of 23 years, Rene Angelil, on Thursday after a long battle with cancer. He was 73, and had been dealing with the illness for near on 20 years, with several periods of remission before it overtook him completely. This is the man she’d known since she was 12 years old (which some find creepy, but hey ho — they seemed incredibly happy and they truly loved one another, so who are any of us to say anything about that?) and who was her soulmate. But if that wasn’t difficult enough, on Saturday morning Celine lost her 59 year-old brother Daniel to the same disease, and I can only imagine how devastated she is.
Celine comes from a close-knit family, she being the youngest of 13 children. Without a doubt, the loss she’s experienced this week with her husband and her brother must be overwhelming. Strangely enough, Daniel was dealing with cancer of the throat, tongue, and brain — Rene struggled with throat cancer. Daniel spent his final days at a hospice in Quebec and their sister Claudette described his passing as “serene”, adding that he was prepared and he’s thankfully now no longer in pain.
Really sad for her. I hope the family can come together to comfort each other and really find some peace. Cancer is a bastard (I know, as I’ve lost several family members to it and several others have dealt with it and gone into remission) and I can only hope we’ll somehow be able to find a cure someday.