Céline Dion revealed shocking news Thursday (December 8) morning that she’s been diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome, a rare and incurable neurological disease that can cause debilitating muscle spasms.
In a tearful video posted to her Instagram account in both English and French, the Canadian singer said her health problems would force her to postpone and cancel a series of upcoming concert dates. “I’ve been dealing with problems with my health for a long time, and it’s been really difficult for me to face these challenges and to talk about everything that I’ve been going through…,” Dion, 54, wrote in the caption. “It hurts me to tell you that I won’t be ready to restart my tour in Europe in February.”
The “My Heart Will Go On” singer said in her video, “As you know, I’ve always been an open book. And I wasn’t ready to say anything before — but I’m ready now. I’ve been dealing with problems with my health for a long time and it’s been really difficult for me to face these challenges and talk about everything I’ve been going through. Recently, I’ve been diagnosed with a very rare neurological disorder called Stiff Person Syndrome, which affects something like, one in a million people. While we’re still learning about this rare condition, we now know this is what’s been causing all of the spasms that I’ve been having.”
According to the Stiff Person Syndrome Foundation, the condition affects the central nervous system, specifically the brain and spinal cord. “Patients can be disabled, wheelchair-bound or bed-ridden, unable to work and care for themselves,” the website reads. The neurological disease with autoimmune features can include symptoms like “hyper-rigidity, debilitating pain, chronic anxiety,” and muscle spasms “so violent they can dislocate joints and even break bones.”
“Unfortunately, these spasms affect every aspect of my daily life,” Dion continued, tearfully. “Sometimes causing difficulties when I walk and not allowing me to use my vocal cords to sing the way I’m used to. It hurts me to tell you today. This means I won’t be ready to restart my tour in Europe in February. I have a great team of doctors working alongside me to help me get better. And my precious children who are supporting me and giving me hope.”
Dion shares three sons, René-Charles, 21, and 11-year-old twins Nelson and Eddy with her late husband René Angélil. Because of her condition, Dion’s Spring 2023 has been rescheduled to 2024, while eight of her summer 2023 shows (previously scheduled from May 31 to July 17, 2023) have been canceled completely. See the full details on her website here.
“I’m working hard with my sports medicine therapist every day to build back my strength and my ability to perform again,” Dion added. “But I have to admit it’s been a struggle.” Determined to perform again, a very emotional Dion continued to say, “All I know is singing. It’s what I’ve done all my life. And it’s what I love to do the most. I miss you so much. I miss seeing all of you. Being on the stage, performing for you. I always give 100 percent when I do my shows, but my condition is not allowing me to give you that right now. For me to reach you again, I have no choice but to concentrate on my health at this moment. And I have hope that I’m on the road to recovery. This is my focus and I’m doing everything that I can to recuperate. I want to thank you so much for your encouraging wishes of love and support on my social media. This means a lot to me. Take care of yourselves. Be well. I love you guys so much and I really hope I can see you again real soon. Thank you.”