Published Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014 | 9:34 a.m.
Updated Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014 | 12:49 p.m.
Superstar Celine Dion confirmed the news at 6:25 a.m. today, over fears that began in December, that she will cancel her Caesars Palace shows and postpone all her showbiz activities indefinitely, including a planned fall tour to Asia with stops in Macau and the Philippines.
The canceled shows include the expanded run planned for New Year’s Eve through March 22, and as of now there is no date announced for her hoped-for return.
Celine says she’s going to give complete attention to husband and former longtime manager Rene Angelil in his cancer battle and recovery since he underwent surgery in December for the removal of a cancerous tumor in his throat. Doctors were forced to remove part of his tongue and replace it with a prosthetic, which caused some speaking problems.
The couple made good progress initially with his recovery and spent time in the Bahamas on a luxury yacht vacation. But fears lingered that his fight was a continuing one and seemed to be confirmed when he quit Celine’s management and business empire and handed over the reins to Montreal business friend Aldo Giampaolo.
Simultaneously since July 29, Celine has been fighting her own illness that caused serious inflammation in her throat, and she’d been unable to perform any shows since then. Doctors ordered her to rest and not to sing or speak. At first, she hoped to return last Friday — Aug. 8 — and then that was pushed back for another week. Now, however, her hopes to resume this Friday — Aug. 15 — also have ended.
This morning, Celine announced via Caesars Entertainment: “I have decided to postpone all my show business activities indefinitely in order to focus 100 percent of my attention on my husband Rene, our family and recent health issues. Since Rene’s surgery last December to remove a cancerous tumor, it’s been a very difficult and stressful time for us dealing with the day-to-day challenges of fighting this disease while trying to juggle a very active show business schedule and raising our three young children.”
She continued: “I want to devote every ounce of my strength and energy to my husband’s healing, and to do so, it’s important for me to dedicate this time to him and to our children. I also want to apologize to all my fans everywhere, for inconveniencing them, and I thank them so much for their love and support,” said Celine. “I also appreciate the understanding of my long-term partners AEG and Caesars Entertainment during this difficult time.”
In addition to canceling her shows at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace until further notice, Celine also has canceled her tour of Asia, previously scheduled for the fall of this year. Tickets ordered for the canceled performances via credit card will be refunded to the credit card used for purchase. Those who purchased tickets with cash may present tickets at the original point-of-sale for a refund.
Caesars Palace President Gary Selesner told me this morning: “After a decade with us, Celine, Rene and their family have become part of our Caesars family, so we’re saddened for them and wish them a speedy recovery and return as soon as is possible.
“This all came as big a shock to us as to you, but we fully understand. We’re sorry for her fans who had made plans to travel to us and will now miss her shows.
“It’s too early to comment about possible stars filling in on her dates, but we are looking at potential entertainers. Right now, though, all we want to do is express our respect and understanding to Celine and Rene and wish them well.
“We will make an announcement about any replacement entertainers as soon as we have news to report.”
When I reported the news this year of Rene’s continuing cancer battle in June, Celine said: “We feel very fortunate that we’ve been able to get the best care possible, and we thank God every day for helping us get through this ordeal.”
Insiders then told me that Celine had decided to give up her career to be by his side if the cancer worsened. Rene had told me last year that Celine would extend her contract from 2015 at Caesars Palace through 2019. She performed her 200th concert of the current run on June 17, making a total of more than 900 concerts at Caesar Palace, with her looking forward to hitting the magic 1,000 mark.
“Everyone at AEG is 100 percent supportive of Celine’s decision to take this time to devote to her health and the health and happiness of her family. Celine has always placed her family life before show business, and this decision is no different,” said John Meglen, president of global touring, AEG Live.
“Celine and Rene have been more than just business partners through the years. We’ve become family, and in any loving family, you support and encourage unconditionally. This is a personal journey for Celine and Rene, so we will respect the family’s wish for privacy during this time.”
The couple decided to sell their homes in Canada and Florida and maintain their Lake Las Vegas estate, which was to be expanded as their only residence — close to Rene’s cancer specialists and Celine’s throat doctors in Los Angeles.
Celine, who has been constantly at Rene’s side through his ordeal, has told friends: “Life is good, but no one knows for how long. That’s why at the start of every single day, I tell him that I love him. He is still my best friend, and I trust my life to him.”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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Transport yourself to the opulent and excessive Roman Empire at Caesars Palace. But the ever-changing Caesars Palace is far from ancient. The hotel and casino is constantly raising the bar for what visitors can expect in a Vegas resort experience.
Caesars Palace features 3,348 rooms and suites in five towers, including the new luxury boutique Nobu Hotel and Restaurant, which opened Feb. 4, 2013, in the totally remodeled Centurian Tower. Caesars features 129,000 square feet of gaming space, including the Strip’s largest poker room and a 250-seat sports book. Other amenities include about two dozen restaurants, a four-level shopping mall, four pools, a spa, Pure and Poetry nightclubs and Pussycat Dolls.
Dining options include restaurants from world-renown chefs Guy Savoy, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsay and, on Feb. 4, 2013, Nobu Matsuhisa.
You never know what characters you’ll run into at Caesars with regular performers like Jerry Seinfeld, Bette Midler, Elton John and maybe even the emperor himself.