Celine Dion's husband honored in elaborate Montreal funeral

Sat Jan 23, 2016 3:00pm EST
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By Allison Lampert

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Canadian political leaders and entertainers joined award-winning singer Celine Dion on Friday in honoring the life of her husband, René Angélil, the man who plucked her out of childhood obscurity and propelled her to international fame.

The nationally televised funeral of Angélil, who died on Jan. 14 at 73, took place in old Montreal in Notre-Dame Basilica, the cavernous, blue-and-gold, Gothic Revival church where they were married in a lavish wedding 21 years earlier.

Wearing a black filigree veil and a black dress, Dion entered the church with their 5-year-old twins, Eddy and Nelson, also in black and wearing black hats over their flowing hair, holding her hands. She laid deep purple calla lilies on his black coffin.

Her song "Trois heures vingt" (Twenty minutes past three) played as she and the family arrived at 3:20 p.m.

Their 14-year-old son, René-Charles, who had been baptized in the basilica, escorted Dion's mother.

He said in front of the crowd: "I was lucky to be born into a family where there was a lot of love ... Je t'aime, papa. I love you, Daddy."

A son from an earlier marriage, Patrick Angelil, also paid tribute to Angelil.

Before the funeral, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney told reporters: "He's a man who had, as the Americans say, his eye on the prize ... He was a giant, and together they created the greatest show-biz success story in the history of Canada."   Continued...

Singer Celine Dion arrives for the funeral of her husband Rene Angelil at Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal January 22, 2016. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi