Celine Dion Diagnosed With Rare Neurological Disease

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
December 8, 2022Entertainment
Celine Dion Diagnosed With Rare Neurological Disease
Singer Celine Dion attends the world premiere of "Beauty and the Beast" at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 2, 2017. (Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images)

Celine Dion revealed on Thursday that she will cancel eight of her shows in Europe because she has been diagnosed with a rare disease that affects one in a million people.

“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,” the pop icon said in an emotional video on Instagram.

The 54-year-old French Canadian singer told her 5.2 million followers on the platform that she has been diagnosed with “a very rare neurological disorder called the stiff person syndrome,” which has caused her muscles to spasm uncontrollably and also created difficulty walking and singing.

“While we’re still learning about this rare condition, we now know this is what’s been causing all of the spasms I’ve been having,” Dion said.

“Unfortunately, these spasms affect every aspect of my daily life, sometimes causing difficulties when I walk and not allowing me to use my vocal cords to sing the way I’m used to,” the Grammy-winning singer continued, later adding that due to these challenges, it will be impossible to restart her tour in Europe in February.

Despite the devastating diagnosis, Dion remains positive, telling her followers that she’s grateful for her “precious children” and a “great team of doctors” helping and supporting her.

“I’m working hard with my sports medicine therapist every day to build back my strength and my ability to perform again but I have to admit it’s been a struggle,” Dion said.

Dit bericht op Instagram bekijken

Een bericht gedeeld door Céline Dion (@celinedion)

“All I know is singing is what I’ve done all my life and it is what I love to do the most,” she continued. “I always give 100 percent when I do my show 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 I can to recuperate.”

The singer of “My Heart Will Go On,” which served as the main soundtrack of James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster film “Titanic,” is the best-selling Canadian recording artist of all time.

What is Stiff Person Syndrome?

The exact cause of stiff person syndrome (SPS) is still unknown and the extremely rare condition is not well understood in the medical field.

According to RareDiseases.org, some studies indicate that it may be “an autoimmune disorder,” which is caused when the body’s natural defenses against “foreign” or invading organisms begin to attack healthy tissue for unexplained reasons.

The report notes that if left untreated, SPS symptoms can potentially progress to cause significant issues that affect the person’s ability to walk and perform routine, daily tasks.

The primary symptoms caused by SPS are spasms and rigidity of the torso and limbs. People affected can also develop “heightened sensitivity to stimuli such as noise, touch, and emotional distress, which can set off muscle spasms,” according to the National Institute for Neurological Disorders.

“Spasms may occur randomly or be triggered by a variety of different events including a sudden noise or light physical contact,” the study stated.

As of today, there is no direct cure for the condition but there are drugs considered GABA-ergic agonist therapies such as benzodiazepines that can slow down the progression. There are also a number of non-medicative interventions, including stretching, heat therapy, aqua therapy, massage therapy, and acupuncture, among others, that can help to reduce symptoms.

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.