As she prepared to bid her husband Rene Angelil a sad, final farewell, singer Celine Dion attended the public wake for the music manager at the Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal on Thursday supported by their eldest child, 14-year-old René Charles, and Celine's mother Therese.
Hundreds of people lined up in the cold outside the church to pay their respects the day before the 73-year-old mogul's funeral, which is to be held on Friday at the Basilica where the couple were married in 1994.
Dressed in black, with her hair in a bun and wearing a black veil, Celine bravely received condolences and well wishes from relatives and friends as fans filed past Rene's open coffin.
René will receive a national funeral – an honor which is reserved for Quebecers who have made a significant contribution to the arts – which will take place at 3pm on Friday at the Basilica. Flags will also be flown at half-mast as a mark of respect.
According to Celine's Facebook page, the ceremony will be live streamed so that "from anywhere across the globe, it will be possible to follow René Angélil’s state funeral" – the message was posted in both English and French.
René is survived by Celine and their three children, René Charles and five-year-old twins Nelson and Eddy, as well as his adult children from two previous marriages, Anne-Marie, Patrick and Jean-Pierre.
René passed away on January 14 after a "long and courageous battle against cancer". In a heartfelt Facebook tribute to her husband and longtime manager, heartbroken Celine, who was wed to Rene for 21 years, said: "He will be remembered as a gentle man, generous and kind, an unprecedented visionary, a modern Pygmalion, a Renaissance man. "All who had the privilege of knowing him and of working closely with him, whether personally or professionally, salute a leader and a man of great intelligence and wisdom."
In a tragic coincidence, the family is also mourning the death of Celine's brother Daniel, who died just days after Rene lost his battle with cancer.