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Celine Dion Tearfully Attends Rene Angelil's Open-Casket Wake

by Raphael Chestang 2:05 PM PST, January 21, 2016
Playing Celine Dion Tearfully Attends Rene Angelil's Open-Casket Wake

One day before Rene Angelil's funeral, his widow, Celine Dion, gathered the strength to greet mourners at his open-casket wake.

The GRAMMY winner wore all black and a netted veil as she dabbed her eyes with a tissue while bravely shaking hands with dear friends and family who had come to pay their respects to Rene at the Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal on Thursday.

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Celine stood by the casket inside the church that meant so much to the couple. It's where they exchanged vows and baptized their first child, Rene-Charles, 14. Rene-Charles was also present at the visitation, standing by his mother's side.

Outside of the church, Rene's picture was displayed on a large screen as the public also came to say their goodbyes.

Photo: The Canadian Press via AP

One of the most poignant moments occurred when Celine was left alone with Rene's casket and tenderly placed her hands on her late husband's body.

WATCH: Rene Angelil Planned His Own Funeral So That Wife Celine Dion Wouldn't Have To

Celine will return to the cathedral on Friday for Rene's funeral, where the Archbishop of Montreal will be leading the service. The Premier of Quebec, Philippe Couillard, has declared it a national funeral to honor Rene, who was born in the city.

Thousands of fans are expected to attend the event, and even law enforcement will be showing their support. While the police force has been wearing camouflage in protest over unfair wages, they will wear their uniforms for the funeral out of respect for Rene and Celine, who are considered royalty.

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Fans unable to attend will be able to watch the ceremony on Canadian television.

Angelil died on Jan. 14 after a long battle with throat cancer just before what would have been his 74th birthday on Jan. 16.

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