Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP
Céline Dion has received many awards over the years, but this weekend she accepted on in honor of her late husband René Angélil.
The “My Heart Will Go On” songstress appeared at Sunday’s ADISQ Gala to perform during an emotional tribute to Angélil. Ginette Reno, another musician who was also managed by Angélil earlier in her career, sang numerous classics as part of the tribute, too.
Dion walked onto the stage to pick up the honorary Félix trophy and was given a standing ovation. She said that Angélil was “not only one of the greatest visionaries of the Quebec music industry. He was also one of the biggest fans of musical artists that ever existed. He had an immense respect for people who had that passion. René always thought of others before he thought of himself.”
Backstage, Dion told reporters how moved she was by the show’s tribute and the award. “Of course it was a great honor for me to receive trophies over the years, but to be here to receive a trophy that’s not for me, that’s even more touching,” she said.
“He’s not physically present, but I’m sure he’s here tonight. I don’t think he missed any of this, and I’m sure he’s very proud.”
Angélil died last January after a battle with throat cancer, and since then Dion has spoken candidly about her grief and her life without her beloved husband.
“You know what, I’m 48 years old and I lost the love of my life. I miss him a lot from when he was great but not when he was suffering,” she told People. “I cannot be selfish. You have to let people go. I feel at peace.”
Although Angélil was sick for a long time, Dion felt the longest part of the journey began at the very end. “We were living in hope, knowing that there’s no hope,” she said. “There were times when I was very, very scared and he’d write me ‘The end is near, I feel it.’ I would go back and say, ‘How can you say that? Are you in more pain?’ Now I know it’s possible for someone dying to feel when it comes.”