It's been a difficult start to 2016 for Celine Dion – in January she lost both her husband, René Angélil, and brother to cancer. Though it's been incredibly hard for the singer, who will be honoured with Billboard's Icon Award on May 22, one of her friends has said it's her music that keeps her going.
"I think the loss will hurt Celine for a very long time," Robin Leach told Hello! "[René] has been the only man in her life. Her strength comes from her performing. How she gets through without breaking down is beyond me, but she manages to do it.”
The Las Vegas Sun reporter's comments come on the heels of the news that the Québec native will receive top honours at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards.
"The strength of that woman is extraordinary," Robin added. "This town [Las Vegas] loves Celine and Celine loves this town. And I think we saw that with the tribute event that we did in René’s honour with her family. Where she found the courage to speak to us all I have no idea. It is remarkable."
The celebration of life event happened in February, just a month after René passed away. Later that month, Celine returned to her residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace and performed several songs in her late husband's honour, including "With One More look at You/Watch Closely Now."
A slideshow played in the background with a heartwarming quote from the singer: "I understood that my career was in a way his masterpiece, his song, his symphony. The idea of leaving it unfinished would have hurt him terribly. I realized that if he ever left us, I would have to continue without him, for him."
According to the 74-year-old former TV host, Celine is currently taking a much-deserved break before touring again.
Celine will take the stage at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards.
"She is on her break at the moment – it was a planned break... she likely needed this time away to recharge, but at the same time she has to perform. It is in her DNA and that is where she gets the strength to deal with his loss."
Celine, 48, definitely deserves to be recognized as a music icon at the Billboard Awards. She's sold more than 250 million records worldwide, had four U.S. Billboard number one albums, 14 adult contemporary number-one singles and is a four-time GRAMMY award winner.
Of the honour, Billboard show producer Mark Bracco said: "Celine Dion has a huge repertoire of monster hits and she personally chose to perform [Queen's] "The Show Must Go On" as her Icon performance... I think, at this moment in her life, the song has many meanings and is an amazing choice."