'René always thought of others before he thought of himself,' she said
This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.com.
The singer, 48, accepted the honorary Felix award on Angélil’s behalf on Sunday at the ADISQ Gala in Montreal, Canada.
“[Angélil was] not only one of the greatest visionaries of the Quebec music industry,” she said during her acceptance speech, according to the Montreal Gazette. “He was also one of the biggest fans of musical artists that ever existed. He had an immense respect for people who had that passion. René always thought of others before he thought of himself.”
Angélil died on Jan. 14 after a long battle with cancer. He was 73. Just two days after her husband’s passing, Dion also lost her brother, Daniel, to brain, throat and tongue cancer at age 59.
Dion performed in an emotional tribute to her late husband alongside Ginette Reno, whom Angélil managed earlier in her career.
The “My Heart Will Go On” singer told reporters backstage that while she has been honored to receive trophies over the years, “to be here to receive a trophy that’s not for me, that’s even more touching.”
“He’s not physically present, but I’m sure he’s here tonight,” she said. “I don’t think he missed any of this, and I’m sure he’s very proud.”
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Dion has been open about her husband’s death, and how she and the couple’s three children, René-Charles, 15, and 6-year-old twins Nelson and Eddy, are coping.
“She’s taking all of December off to spend with the kids,” a source told PEOPLE last week. “She’s still grieving, but she’s doing everything she can to keep as happy and as healthy as possible. It’s all about the kids.”
She previously opened up to PEOPLE about the loss, vowing to be strong for her children.
“René always insisted the show must go on,” the singer said. “You know what, I’m 48 years old and I lost the love of my life. I miss him a lot from when he was great but not when he was suffering. I cannot be selfish. You have to let people go. I feel at peace.”