Canadian singer Michael Buble said he is humbled to be able to represent his home country on musical stages around the world and feel supported during what has been a tough time for his young family.
“I stand here truly humbled that I have been allowed to be one of your musical representatives and that you would choose to bestow this honour upon me during what has been an emotionally difficult time for my family,” Buble said Wednesday during a rare public appearance in Ottawa.
At Rideau Hall to receive a medal from Gov. Gen. David Johnston as part of the 2017 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, it was the first public event for Buble, 41, since announcing last fall that his three-year-old son, Noah, is battling cancer.
“I thank you for the love and support that you’ve given me and for the pride I’m filled with every single time I’m able to stand on a stage and say, ‘My name is Michael Steven Buble and I am Canadian,” Buble, who was born in Burnaby, B.C., said to resounding applause as he capped off his short speech.
The singer did not mention the illness, but appeared emotional as he spoke of the love he has for his wife, model Luisana Lopilato, and their two children, including their one-year-old son Elias, as well as his parents and sisters.
“There are no words to describe how I feel about you,” Buble said. “Sometimes, ‘I love you’ just isn’t enough because what I feel is just so much more.”
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In April, Lopilato held a news conference in her native Argentina to say Noah was progressing well from treatment.
His family was there to see him receive the National Arts Centre Award, which recognizes an achievement from the previous performance year.
Buble released his ninth studio album, called “Nobody But Me,” in October.
Other honorees at the ceremony, to be followed by a gala Thursday evening, included actors Michael J. Fox and Martin Short, who both spoke of how Canada has inspired and supported them as they accepted lifetime achievement awards for broadcasting.
“I would like to thank Canada for the warm embrace of home,” said Fox, 56, who is was being recognized for his career as an actor but also for supporting research into Parkinson’s disease, which he has had since the early 1990s.
Fox told the audience that whenever he goes to see the New York Rangers play a Canadian team, he sings along to both national anthems, but he always sings “O Canada” a little louder.
“I learned it first and I know it best,” he said.
Short, 67, said that has never met an American who was not a tad jealous of his Canadian passport, especially since U.S. President Donald Trump came to the White House.
“We’re the aliens they don’t deport,” Short said to laughter.
Joanna Smith, The Canadian Press