This morning, Céline Dion posted a video to Instagram, revealing that she has been diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome. The rare neurological disorder causes muscle spasms that affect her ability to perform. As a result, the “My Heart Will Go On” singer has postponed and canceled her upcoming performances. “I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to reach out to you. I miss you all so much and I can't wait to be on stage talking to you in person," she said.
"As you know I’ve always been an open book, and I wasn't ready to say anything before, but I’m ready now," Dion continued. "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. Recently, I’ve been diagnosed with a very rare neurological disorder called Stiff Person Syndrome which affects something like one in a million people.”
Stiff Person Syndrome (formerly known as Stiff Man Syndrome) does not have a clear cause, but researchers believe it stems from an autoimmune reaction that causes the body to attack its own nervous system. The disorder often affects the muscles in a person’s torso, and can cause them to become immobile. In Dion’s case, it has disrupted her ability to sing. “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 explained. “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.”
Stiff Person Syndrome does not have a cure, but a combination of medical treatments and physical therapy can offset its painful effects. Dion said she is working with a “great team of doctors,” along with a sports therapist, to regain her strength. Dion hopes to return to performing soon. but is currently focused on her recovery.
“I always give 100 percent when I do my show, but my condition is not allowing me to give you that right now,” she said. “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.” Dion's spring 2023 shows have been postponed to 2024—and eight of her summer 2023 dates have been canceled. The singer's tour schedule has been updated on her website.
Dion concluded her message with a heartfelt message to her fans. “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.”
This article was first published on Esquire.