"Rene wanted to die in my arms," Dion said in an interview with Paris Match magazine (translated via Us Weekly), revealing that she was performing on the night of Jan. 13 and "didn't want to wake him" when she returned home.
"Normally, after my show when he had taken his last medications, I gave him a kiss, tucked him in and sent him off to sleep," she revealed. "That evening I didn't want to wake him. It was the nurse who found him the next day. Distraught, she came to find me."
Dion candidly shared that her late husband died late at night after falling out of bed. However, a doctor confirmed to her that Angelil did not suffer any broken bones, fractures or blood clots from the fall.
"He must have wanted to get up and he fell on the floor," she said.
Angelil was 73 at the time of his death and had been battling throat cancer for several years.
“My mourning began when the disease took hold,” Dion confessed. “I became fully responsible for his life, even in the most intimate moments.”
Now, the 48-year-old French-Canadian singer is getting back to business. On Sunday, she took a triumphant stand on the Billboard Music Awards stage, performing Queen's "The Show Must Go On" and accepting the BBMAs Icon Award from her eldest son, Rene-Charles.
"To try to perform that song without collapsing was big enough," she told ET's Cameron Mathison backstage, "and then I turned around and I saw my son. As a mother, I really, through this whole process of our new life, wanted to be strong."
"I thought I was going to make it through the whole night without tears and show strength, and love won," she said. "I just collapsed. I'm very thankful for the award and proud of my family so much."
After only a month-long hiatus from performing for her Las Vegas residency after Angelil's death, Dion said that returning to the stage marks a "new chapter" in her life as a parent and performer.
"I'm not the first woman and I'm not the last one who will lose her husband,” the singer shared. “It's hard, but my family is helping me through it. I hope I think people know that I don’t do music, I don't do my passion and sing to win an award. It's never been the number one goal. It’s to share moments with fans and the celebration of music itself."