Mourners gathered at Montreal's Notre-Dame Basilica on Thursday to pay their respects to Celine Dion's late husband René Angélil. Supporters lined up outside of the historic church, bracing the cold weather, to attend the Montreal native's public viewing. Today's wake precedes the music executive's funeral service. René's funeral will be held on Friday, January 22, where family and friends will say their final goodbyes to the beloved husband and father.
The service will be held at the Basilica where "21 years ago, [René'] chose to marry the one who will remain as the great love of his life, the artist for which he had the most respect, the woman who gave him light and happiness until his very last breath."
Celine and the couple's eldest son, René-Charles, were in attendance at the viewing on January 21. The "Power of Love" singer wore a black lace veil covering her face and personally greeted members of the public, who were there to offer their condolences.
The 47-year-old put on a brave face on Wednesday as she prepared to leave Las Vegas for Montreal. The upcoming days will not doubt be difficult for the mom-of-three as she prepares to bid farewell to her husband on Friday and her brother on Monday. Celine's brother Daniel Dion died on January 17, just three days after her husband lost his battle to cancer. "Celine's heart is in pieces," a source close to the singer told People magazine. "She's extremely heartbroken."
Even until the end, René never stopped protecting his beloved wife. In order to spare her the heartache of worrying over funeral arrangements after his death, René planned his own funeral. “He protected me," Celine told HELLO! in a 2009 interview. "Over the years we fell in love with each other, but he was always my protector and he still is."
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René's funeral will begin at 3 p.m. on Friday. A "celebration of life" service will be held at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, where Celine performs, in Las Vegas on February 3.