Celine Dion at funeral of husband Rene Angelil
Singer Celine Dion kisses the casket of her husband Rene Angelil following his funeral at Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal Reuters

Singer Celine Dion was joined by thousands of fans, politicians and celebrities to pay final respects to husband and manager Rene Angélil. The funeral mass was televised live across Canada and streamed online for the singer's fans around the world.

Around 2,000 guests, including former prime minister Brian Mulroney and Sophie Gregoire, the wife of current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, were present at Montreal's Notre Dame Basilica – the same church where 21 years earlier the couple were married.

Dion kept vigil over her husband's remains for seven hours on 21 January as mourners waited hours to view his casket and offer the grieving widow words of sympathy. The singer, dressed from head-to-toe in black, was clearly distraught, wiping away tears.

Wearing a black veil, her hair pulled back, and holding her youngest twin sons by the hand, Dion entered the church at exactly 3.20pm (8.30pm GMT) on 22 January, as the song 320 played. Other musical numbers by Dion were played between liturgies and eulogies.

"We all remember Rene Angélilthe conqueror of show business, the tireless manager, intelligent, talented, visionary, the one who helped Quebec radiate across the world," said Patrick Angélil, Rene's son from a previous marriage.

"You're a tough act to follow," added Rene-Charles, Angélil's eldest son with Dion, according to CBC News.

Dion's fans were handed a memorial card with a black-and-white photo of Angélil on their way out of the church. "I understood that my career was somehow his masterpiece, his song, his symphony to himself. The idea that it could remain unfinished would have pained terribly. I understood that if he ever left us, I should continue without him, for him," the message said.

Celine Dion has sold more than 220 million albums worldwide, and the singer also had signed a lucrative contract to sing nightly at The Colosseum in Las Vegas. She is scheduled to return to the stage on 23 February.

Angélil died on 14 January, two days before his 74th birthday, after living with throat cancer for years.