René Angélil, CM, OQ (French pronunciation: [ʁəˈne ɑ̃ʒeˈlij]; January 16, 1942 – January 14, 2016) was a Canadian singer and manager.
He was the husband and at longtime manager of singer Celine Dion until his death.
Angélil was born in Montreal, Québec, Canada, to a Syrian father and a mother of Lebanese descent. He was Melkite Catholic and studied at College Saint-Viateur (high school), inOutremont and at College André-Grasset (post secondary), in Montreal.
Angélil started out as a pop singer in the 1960s in Montréal, Angélil formed a pop rock group, "Les Baronets", with childhood friends Pierre Labelle and Jean Beaulne. Les Baronets had some hits during the 1960s, mostly translations of English-language pop hits from the United Kingdom or the United States, such as C'est fou, mais c'est tout (a translation of The Beatles' song Hold Me Tight). After the dissolution of the group, Angélil and best friend Guy Cloutierbegan managing artists.
Together they managed the career of two successful Québec entertainers René Simard andGinette Reno, among many other pop stars of the time. They parted ways in 1981 to each become solo managers. At the end of 1980 (not long after being replaced as Ginette's manager) René heard Celine Dion's demo tape. In 1987 and 1988, he won the Félix Award for Manager of the Year. In July 2008, Angélil was named the "principal" for the reality television show Star Académie's fourth season in 2009; he filled the principal role in the show's two separate runs in 2009 and 2012.
In 1966, Angélil married his first wife, Denyse Duquette, the couple had a son, Patrick, in 1968. In 1974, he married singer Manon Kirouac, called Anne Renée on the stage: the couple had two children, Jean Pierre (born 1974) and Anne Marie (born 1977). In December 1994, he married the singer Celine Dion, whom he had first met when she was 12; the couple had an age difference of 26 years. Their son, René-Charles Dion Angélil, was born in 2001. Dion suffered a miscarriage with a second child in 2009. Dion gave birth to twin boys in October 2010. The boys were named Eddy, after Eddy Marnay, who produced Dion's first five albums, and Nelson, after the former South African president Nelson Mandela. Angélil was a fan of NHL hockey, and a good friend of former Colorado Avalanche president and general manager, Pierre Lacroix. Angélil was portrayed by actor Enrico Colantoni in a 2008 television biopic of Dion, Céline. Health issues and death
Angélil suffered a heart attack in 1992 at age 51.
Angélil was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1998 and subsequently made a full recovery. He appeared in the video for Simple Plan's song Save You as a survivor of cancer. In 2009, Angélil reportedly underwent a heart-related medical procedure to deal with "arterial blockage". The procedure had been "planned for months" and was "not heart surgery".
Angélil underwent further surgery in December 2013 for throat cancer. In June 2014 Angélil stood down as Dion's manager to focus on his health, but was still involved in business decisions pertaining to her career. In September 2015 Dion announced that Angélil's cancer was terminal, and that he had only 'months to live'. Angélil died on January 14, 2016, two days before his 74th birthday. He was survived by his wife, six children and seven grandchildren.
Angélil was accused by Yun Kyeong Kwon Sung of sexual assault stemming from an incident in 2000 that took place in a Las Vegas hotel, and which was investigated by police. Angélil eventually paid $2 million to settle the case, though never admitted wrongdoing, and maintained that the settlement was paid to avoid negative publicity that might upset Dion. Yun and her husband, Ae Ho Kwon, were later arrested in 2003 and charged with trying to extort money from Angélil over a false claim of rape. The couple were convicted in 2005.
In 2001 Angélil and Dion filed a $5 million defamation lawsuit against the Quebec tabloid Allo Vedettes' who alleged that the couple paid $5,000 to rent out the swimming pool of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas so that Dion could sunbathe topless and Angélil could go skinny dipping. The couple strenuously denied the allegations.
Angélil was an avid poker player, having qualified for the 2005 World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions, and finishing in the money at the 2007 Mirage Poker Showdown event on the World Poker Tour, a series of high-stakes tournaments. Angélil was also rumoured to be a dedicated gambler away from the poker table. He reportedly gambled upwards of $1 million a week at Caesars Palace, and kept a line of credit for the same amount at Bellagio. In 2007 the former mayor of Las Vegas and casino executive, Jan Jones, claimed that Angélil gambled $1 million a week, but later retracted the statement. Caesars Palace later released a statement of Angélil's gambling losses and wins with his permission.
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