Céline Dion thanks public at René Angélil visitation
Céline Dion has been standing by the open casket of her husband, René Angelil, since 2:30 p.m. ET greeting Quebec dignitaries and the public as they file into the Notre-Dame Basilica in OId Montreal to pay respects.
Fans began lining up at 5:45 a.m. ET for a chance to pay their respects to Dion’s husband and longtime manager at the basilica.
The visitation runs from 2 p.m. until 9 p.m. ET
Dion greeted and embraced public visitors as they filed into the same church where she married Angélil more than two decades ago.
Céline Dion greets public at René Angélil’s visitation1:02
Dion was expected to be at the basilica at the beginning of the visitation and again near the end.
Angélil died of cancer last Thursday at the age of 73. His funeral will take place Friday afternoon.
Benoit Gendron, the first person in line, said he’s been to 192 Céline Dion concerts.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said the day was a chance to pay homage to a man known for being loyal and generous to Montrealers.
“He was larger than life, but he was also the little boy from Villeray,” Coderre said. “He never forgot his roots.”
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre says René Angélil was loyal to Montrealers. (Radio-Canada)
Fans have come from all walks of life to thank Angélil for his contributions.
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Mamadou Ndoye and Koné Bilali praised Angélil and Dion for their contributions to people around the world.
“There are two words to describe René Angélil,” Ndoye said. “Generous and visionary.”
Julia Martin, who has seen Céline Dion perform on three continents and met Angélil at a Las Vegas casino, travelled from Orange County, Calif., for the visitation.
“I know it’s crazy, yes, but it feels right,” Martin said of her long-distance trip. “I have to be here.”
Jérémy Gabriel, who became known in Quebec when he sang for the pope in 2006, said he wanted to be at the visitation to support Dion.
Gabriel said the couple gave him his first big break and were great friends to him.
Jérémy Gabriel says Angélil and Céline Dion gave him his first break as a singer. (Morgan Dunlop/CBC)
Several roads are closed to traffic around the church including Rue St-Jacques, Rue-Notre-Dame, Côte de la Place D’Armes and Rue Saint-Sulpice.
CBC | Arts News