Celine Dion’s husband and former manager René Angélil died on Thursday after a long battle with throat cancer, her rep confirmed to The Huffington Post. He was 73 years old.
“Rene Angelil, 73, passed away this morning as his home in Las Vegas after a long and courageous battle against cancer,” his rep said in a statement via email. “The family requests that their privacy be respected at the moment; more details will be provided at a later time.”
Dion’s team also shared news of his death on her Facebook page:
Angélil got his start in the music industry in the 1960s singing with the Montréal pop group, “The Baronets,” before going on to manage artists in the 1970s. But it was a 12-year-old girl he met in 1980 who would go on to be not only his biggest client, but his third wife. Angélil and Dion married in December 1994 and welcomed their son René-Charles in 2001, followed by fraternal twins Eddy and Nelson in 2010.
Angélil, who was born in Montréal on January 16, 1942, was diagnosed with cancer three times. In 1999, Dion briefly retired for two years to focus on his treatment and after 38 rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, Angélil was told he was cancer-free, according to People. In 2014, he underwent surgery to remove a tumor from his throat, but his health continued to fail.
This past March, Dion opened up to “Good Morning America,” revealing that the cancer left him unable to talk or swallow.
“He can’t eat so I feed him,” Dion said while wiping away the tears. “He’s got a feeding tube. I have to feed him three times a day.”
This past August, she spoke to USA Today, saying she and Angélil already planned the details of both his death and his funeral.
“I’ll say, ‘You’re scared? I understand. Talk to me about it,'” she said, pausing. “And René says to me, ‘I want to die in your arms.’ OK, fine, I’ll be there, you’ll die in my arms.”
Angélil is survived by Dion and their three sons, as well as his sons Patrick and Jean Pierre and his daughter Anne Marie from his previous marriages.