Celine Dion‘s mother, Therese Dion, died Friday morning (Jan. 17) at age 92, Billboard has confirmed. Known throughout Quebec as “Maman Dion,” the mother of 14 — including her world-famous singing daughter — was born Marie-Thérèse Tanguay on March 20, 1927, and met future husband Adhémar Dion in the 1940s.
“It is with deep sadness that Feeling Productions announces the death of Mrs. Thérèse Tanguay Dion,” an official statement reads. “Mrs. Dion died peacefully at home last night, surrounded by her family. The family and loved ones thank you in advance for respecting their privacy during these difficult times. Details related to the funeral will be communicated later.”
According to CTV News Montreal, eldest child Claudette Dion revealed last summer that Therese Dion was suffering from a number of health issues, including memory loss and hearing and vision impairment. Though husband Adhémar Dion reportedly was reluctant to have children at first, the couple went on to have more than a dozen, including their youngest, Celine.
Therese played violin and Adhémar the accordion in the familiy that sang together, with Celine’s mother penning her daughter’s first song, “It Was Only a Dream,” which she sent to manager René Angélil, who took the then-teenage singer under his wing, eventually marrying her and lifting the singer to global stardom. Dion paid tribute to the family matriarch on Mother’s Day in 2019, posting a picture with her mom and writing, “Now more than ever, I realize the importance of a mother’s role. Not only did you give me life, but you also wrote my destiny. I love you mom.”
Therese launched a foundation, the Manan Dion Foundation for the education of disadvantaged children, in 2006, according to CBC. Quebec’s Premier tweeted a tribute to Therese on Friday morning, writing, “A remarkable woman, so generous, so loving, who devoted her whole life to the benefit of her family. Our big Québécois family mourns her passing.”
In a Twitter message in both French and English, Dion confirmed that she will still perform at American Airlines Arena in Miami on Friday night despite her loss. “We dedicate tonight’s show to you and I’ll sing to you with all my heart.”
Maman, nous t’aimons tellement…
Nous te dédions le spectacle de ce soir et je chanterai pour toi avec tout mon coeur. // Maman, we love you so much… We dedicate tonight’s show to you and I’ll sing to you with all my heart. Love, Céline xx…
— : Richard Gauthier pic.twitter.com/5kQDL1ILbs
— Celine Dion (@celinedion) January 17, 2020