Singer Celine Dion fought back tears as she dedicated her Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards to her late husband and manager, Rene Angelil.

Rene lost his battle with cancer in January at the age of 73, but he was clearly on Dion’s mind as she took the stage at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday to sing a cover of Queen’s epic hit The Show Must Go On, which she recently revealed had always been her husband’s motto.

She was accompanied by a full orchestra, including star violinist Lindsey Stirling, for the powerful performance, reported People magazine.

Guest presenter Seal then invited Dion over to the podium and surprised her by introducing her eldest son, 15-year-old Rene-Charles, to present the superstar with the Billboard Icon Award, which recognises her contribution to the music industry over the past three decades.

Breaking down as she delivered her acceptance speech, Dion apologised for her state of emotions, saying, "I’m so sorry. I’m sorry for crying. I want to be so strong for my family and kids and I didn’t expect (Rene-Charles to be there)." 

Turning to her boy, she said, "I don’t wanna cry in front of you, but you make me so happy. Thank you." 

Dion, 48, then addressed the audience as she expressed her gratitude to everyone who "helped me get to where I am today", before dedicating the award to her beloved Rene.

"Most especially, I wanna thank the fans for travelling through music with me, in good and bad times… My friends… my family, all the people who believed in me. My mum, who wrote my first song; my children, Rene-Charles, Nelson and Eddy, and most importantly, my beloved husband, whom I know will continue to watch over me from up above.

"Thank you Billboard Music Awards for honouring me…," she added, before concluding, "Rene, this one’s for you: the show must go on!"