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A look back at Celine Dion's first year without husband René Angélil

celine dion
Ainhoa Barcelona
Content Managing Editor
January 14, 2017
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celine dione1© Photo: Getty Images

Two thousand and sixteen was an incredibly difficult year for Celine Dion, who lost her husband René Angélil, and her brother Daniel, in the space of two days in January.

Her heart broke as she faced life without her other half, but as the months passed, Celine managed to resurface as a pillar of strength.

We take a look back at Celine's past year as she marks her husband's first death anniversary on Saturday 14 January...

celine dion2© Photo: Getty Images

Celine honoured René, her partner of 21 years, in a sombre funeral service in his hometown of Montreal in January. Clad in black, Celine arrived at the church holding hands with her two youngest sons, twins Eddy and Nelson.

René and Celine's eldest son René-Charles shared a heartbreaking eulogy about his father, leaving many in tears.

"Fifteen years is not a long time for a son to get to know his father. You had a busy life, but we were communicating through golf, hockey, poker and smoked meat…" he said.

"You left me now with enough good memories of you to share with my younger brothers. As they grow older, without you being around, I'll make sure to pass on what I've learned from you. You are a tough act to follow, but with your help, everything's going to be fine. Dad, I promise you here that we're all going to live up to your standards."

celine dion3© Photo: Getty Images

Three weeks after her husband's death, Celine returned to The Colosseum stage at Caesars Palace to honour her beloved late husband.

The My Heart Will Go On singer attended a memorial for René and explained that the stage was her home, saying: "I feel his love in the room. I feel his strength and his warmth being reflected in all of you. René always surrounded me with the best people who believed in us and always worked so hard on our behalf."

celine dion4© Photo: Getty Images

At the end of February, the singer returned to her work commitments, giving perhaps the most emotional performance of her career. Celine still managed to remain poised and elegant at her Las Vegas concert, paying tribute to her late husband.

The show began with a montage of pictures and videos of René over the years, along with a quote from his heartbroken wife: "I understood that my career was in a way his masterpiece, his song, his symphony. The idea of leaving it unfinished would have hurt him terribly. I realised that if he ever left us, I would have to continue without him, for him."

Celine explained: "Through my life, I only had highs from my husband who sat out here night after night. People thought that I was looking at him actually, but I didn't need to because every time I close my eyes I felt René on stage with me whether he was seated in his seat right there, in the balcony, backstage or at home with the kids. He's always been on stage with me. And nothing will ever change that."

celine dion6© Photo: Getty Images

Four months after losing her husband, Celine delivered an emotional performance of Queen's The Show Must Go On at the Billboard Music Awards.

The poignant words of the track, delivered in Celine's powerful vocals, really struck a chord with the audience – and they were left teary-eyed when the star was then surprised on stage by her eldest son René-Charles, who handed her the Icon Award.

Thanking her family, fans, her team, and her label, Celine then paid tribute to "my beloved husband, whom I know will continue to watch over me from up above".

celine dion5© Photo: Instagram

On 30 March, Celine celebrated her 48th birthday without her husband. But the star's friends and family rallied around her, throwing her a surprise birthday party. Celine put on a brave face while marking her big day, sharing a snap of her celebrations with her Instagram followers.

celine dion7© Photo: Getty Images

The show must go on indeed. In June Celine kicked off her eleventh concert tour, The Summer Tour 2016, in Belgium. She then travelled to Paris and finished in her native Canada.

While on tour, she received an outpouring of love from her fans. The supportive crowds would gather outside her hotel, bringing happiness back to her life and a smile to her face.

celine dion8© Photo: Getty Images

During her tour, Celine had even more exciting news to share with fans. In August she released her 26th studio album, and her 12th in French, entitled Encore Un Soir.

Celine kept René's memory alive through her music. Discussing the album's debut single, the statement read: "It was composed by Jean-Jacques Goldman, marking a long-awaited reunion, 12 years in the making! Céline and René's vision of a new collaboration with this legendary artist, came to fruition with Encore Un Soir."

celine dion9© Photo: Getty Images

Celine had the opportunity to perform at the Stand Up to Cancer telethon in September, where she met fellow stars including Bradley Cooper and Tom Hanks.

"I miss René every day, and the loss will now be a part of my life. I also lost my father and my brother Daniel to cancer," she revealed.

The Canadian powerhouse then gave an emotional performance, singing Recovery, which was written by Pink.

celine dion10© Photo: Getty Images

Celine marked a very special milestone in October – performing her 1,000th show at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

celine dion11© Photo: Getty Images

She also treated her sons to a trip to Disneyland, to celebrate Eddy and Nelson's sixth birthday in mid-October. Celine had previously opened up to ABC News about the moment she told the twins their father had died.

"Before I told them that their dad was not there ... I said, 'Do you remember the movie Up?'" Celine recalled, in reference to one of her sons' favourite movies. "They said, 'Yes, Ellie went up. You know with the balloons.' And I said, 'You know, today Papa went up.'"

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