Remembering Rene: 'A very humble, real person'

Frank Silva remembers the first time he spotted Rene Angelil at Montreal's famous deli, Schwartz's, 25 years ago.

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At the time Silva was a server at the popular eatery, and he recalls being "in awe" of the music manager.

"He shared with total strangers, he talked to everyone," Silva, now the restaurant's general manager, told CTV News Channel on Friday.

Angelil died on Jan. 14 following a long battle with cancer.

He will be remembered during a national funeral on Friday at Montreal's Notre-Dame Basilica, where 21 years ago he married Canadian singer Celine Dion.

Silva said Angelil was a regular at Schwartz's. He liked the food so much that in 2012, when the opportunity presented itself, he became a co-owner of the smoked-meat restaurant.

"The day he bought the restaurant, he phoned me up and thanked me for staying on as a general manager,” Silva said. “He called me from Vegas."

When he would visit Schwartz's, Silva said Angelil would be sure to pop into the kitchen to speak to the dishwashers, the busboys and the servers.

"He was a very humble, real person," Silva said. "He loved life, loved food. He was just a great Quebecer."



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