Superstar Céline Dion is back to a full performance schedule, wowing audiences at The Colosseum theater at Caesars palace four nights a week.
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But amid the adoring fans, there is an empty seat in the front row — the one in which her husband of more than 20 years, René Angélil, once sat. "He used to be with her every night, but he hasn't been to any of her recent shows," says a backstage insider.
Céline with her husband, René. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
That's because, as multiple sources confide to Closer, unless a miracle occurs, René, 73, only has from six to eight months left. "Believe me, it tears at her," says a close friend, who says that René is rapidly losing his battle with throat cancer. And Céline, 47, has vowed to make the best of the time they have left.
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According to the friend, Céline is fulfilling René's dying wish by taking the stage each night. "If she had her way, she would not be performing, but René insisted," says the friend. “He believed that it was best to get Céline back to doing what she loves, and set the stage for the time when he is no longer here,” a source adds. “I think René feared that Céline would hesitate to get back onstage after his passing.”
Céline and René in November 2007. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
And when she's not onstage, taking care of René consumes Céline's life. Each morning, says the friend, Céline rises early to "help the nurses feed René and then she gets the boys (René-Charles, 14, and twins Nelson and Eddy, 4) ready for school."
If René's feeling strong, she might suggest a walk around their Lake Las Vegas estate, usually with one of five nurses who tend to René 24/7. Other times, "Céline will lay in bed with him watching old movies," says the friend. Or they'll talk. "He doesn't stop amazing me. When he talks to me, I take notes," she's said.
To read the full story on Céline and René, pick up the new issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now!
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