Celine Dion revealed a private battle with a rare neurological disorder known as stiff-person syndrome. The singer’s announcement came on Thursday via social media. In a short clip, she explained she’s been dealing with health issues for a “long time,” and they’re now affecting her ability to perform.
Unfortunately, this means eager fans won’t get to see Dion perform until at least 2024. The caption on her announcement video reads, “Celine Dion rescheduled Spring 2023 shows to 2024 and cancels eight of her summer 2023 shows.”
“It’s been really difficult for me to face these challenges and to talk about everything that I’ve been going through,” Celine said. “Recently, I’ve been diagnosed with a really rare neurological disorder called the stiff-person syndrome, which affects something like one-in-a-million people. While we’re still learning about this rare condition, but we now know this is what’s been causing all of the spasms that I’ve been having.”
How Is Stiff-Person Syndrome Affecting Celine Dion?
Dion said the spasms are severe enough to affect every aspect of her daily life, including her career. She experiences difficulties walking and using her vocal cords “to sing like [she] used to.”
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the disorder causes stiff muscles and greater sensitivity to noise, touch, and emotional distress. This sensitivity can set off spasms. People with SPS also frequently fall, which can lead to injuries.
Women are twice as likely to have SPS syndrome as men. The symptoms can begin to appear between the age of 30 and 60. Celine is 54.
There is reportedly no cure at this time, but the symptoms can be managed with treatment such as muscle relaxers.
At this time, Dion is relying on her “great team” of medical professionals and experts. She’s also leaning on her three children, René-Charles and twins Nelson and Eddy, who she says are supporting her and giving her hope. Nonetheless, she says the journey has been difficult.
“I’m working hard with my sports medicine therapist every day to build back my strength and my ability to perform again,” Celine said. “But I have to admit it’s been a struggle.”
Celine says, “all [she] knows is singing”–it’s what she’s done all her life and what she “loves the most.” However, her stiff-person syndrome diagnosis won’t allow it. So, for now, her focus is on her health and her hopeful road to recovery.