Celine Dion stood there stoically wiping away tears as hundreds of mourners gathered at Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal to pay their respects to her late husband Rene Angelil.
The songstress greeted nearly every mourner on Jan. 21 as she stood in front of the body of her husband of 22 years, which could be seen, as it was an open casket.
Wearing all black, Celine dabbed her eyes with tissues throughout the day as people shared their memories of Rene with her.
The line of mourners wrapped around the church where the wake was held, which is also where Celine and Rene were married in 1994.
Outside the church an oversized photo of Rene was displayed. Inside, classical music played over the stereo as mourners greeted not only Celine, but also Angélil's sons Patrick and Jean-Pierre who stood in the receiving line.
"I understand that my career was in a way his masterpiece, his song, his symphony. The idea of leaving it unfinished would have hurt him terribly," a quote from Celine read on the program at the public viewing. "I realized that if he ever left us, I would have to continue without him, for him."
People magazine reported that mourners began gathering outside of Notre-Dame Basilica hours before the wake began, braving 16 degree temperatures.
The funeral is set for Jan. 22, and the church is expecting to be at its maximum seating capacity of 3,200.
It's been reported that Celine will not sing at the funeral, even though she was, not surprisingly, Rene's favorite singer.
"He was so proud of her. 'Did you hear Céline last night? Did you see that? She was so great! She hit the note!'" the couple's longtime friend Julie Snyder told People. "He was still impressed with Celine. He was still telling me, 'You know, she's singing very well.'"
Rene was at his proudest when it came to his wife.
"The first time she made a big show at the Caesars Palace, before The Colosseum, I was there, and he was so proud to see all the billboards and everything with Celine on it. It was a dream more for him, I think, than for her, the first time," Julie told reporters. "Now she's the queen of the strip, but at that time, he was so excited. He was like a little kid. He was crying in front of the billboard, telling me, 'Look at that! Look at that!'"
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