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Sad news to report this afternoon: Celine Dion‘s husband, René Angélil, has died after a long battle with cancer.

Angélil’s rep confirmed the sad news in a statement: “Rene Angelil, 73, passed away this morning at his home in Las Vegas after a long and courageous battle against cancer. The family requests that their privacy be respected at the moment.”

In an interview with USA Today last August, Dion said that the family took the battle day by day, and that doctors weren’t able to tell him how long he’d survive. She said, “I’ll say, ‘You’re scared? I understand. Talk to me about it’ … And René says to me, ‘I want to die in your arms.’ Okay, fine, I’ll be there, you’ll die in my arms.”

Angélil, who was first Dion’s manager and mentor before they wed in 1994, battled cancer in three courageous bouts. He is survived by Dion, their three children — René-Charles, 14, and twins Nelson and Eddy, 5 — and three adult children from a previous relationship, Anne-Marie, Patrick and Jean-Pierre.

SOURCE: PEOPLE, USA Today | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty