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Celine Dion Diagnosed With Incurable Neurological Disease

Celine Dion
French-Canadian singer Celine Dion has opened up about being diagnosed with SPS, a rare neurological disorder. Credit: Anirudh Koul / CC BY 2.0 / via Wikimedia Commons

Celine Dion revealed today that she had been diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS). SPS is a rare neurological condition that causes progressive muscle stiffness and painful muscle spasms.

The French Canadian singer told her more than 5.2 million followers on Instagram that she would have to postpone an upcoming tour due to these health concerns.

Celine Dion opens up about SPS

Dion spoke candidly to fans about her health in a video clip posted to Instagram. “I’ve been dealing with problems with my health for a long time,” the singer said.

Dion addressed her fans in two videos in both French and English. She has achieved record music sales in both languages and is the best-selling French-language artist of all time. Her music has become immensely popular worldwide.

“It’s been really difficult for me to face these challenges and to talk about everything that I’ve been going through,” the singer continued.

“Recently I’ve been diagnosed with a very rare neurological disorder called the stiff person syndrome which affects something like one in a million people,” she said. “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.”

During the video, Dion expressed sorrow that her health condition has been affecting her singing. She was scheduled to perform across Europe in 2023, but the concerts will now have to be postponed as a result of health complications, she announced.

“Unfortunately, these spasms affect every aspect of my daily life, sometimes causing difficulties when I walk and not allowing me to use my vocal chords to sing the way I’m used to,” Dion said.

“It hurts me to tell you today that this means I won’t be ready to restart my tour in Europe in February,” she concluded.

Tour postponement

In 2019, after a period of hiatus, Celine Dion made a triumphant return with the studio album Courage. Courage included musical collaborations with Sia, Sam Smith, and David Guetta.

Prior to 2019, Dion had paused her career twice for personal reasons. In 2014, she stepped away from her career “indefinitely” to help her husband René Angélil through cancer. The singer stepped away from the limelight again in 2016 after both her husband, Angélil, and her brother, Daniel Dion, passed away.

A concert tour was scheduled to take place shortly after the release of her album, Courage, in 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced her to postpone the dates. Recurring muscle spasms, which were undiagnosed at the time, also complicated Dion’s return to touring.

Dion reassured fans she has “a great team of doctors working alongside [her] to help [her] get better.” She also commended her “precious children” for their support and help.

She is hopeful that she will make a return to the stage despite suffering from SPS. “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,” she said.

“All I know is singing,” she said. “It’s what I’ve done all my life and it’s what I love to do the most.”

“I miss you so much,” she told fans, “I miss seeing all of you [and] being on the stage, performing for you.”

“I always give 100 percent when I do my show but my condition is not allowing me to give you that right now,” Dion said before thanking her followers for their support at the end of the video.

Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS)

SPS is a rare neurological disorder that causes a combination of rigidity and spasms in the muscles. Symptoms can fluctuate in intensity. The exact cause of SPS is unknown, but most medical scientists believe it is an autoimmune disorder.

The severity of symptoms varies from patient to patient. Symptoms can remain stable over several years or gradually worsen. Affected areas of the body may include the legs, lower back, neck, shoulders, and hip. Sometimes one side of the body is more affected than the other. In some cases, the arm and/or face are also affected.

Symptoms of SPS can be managed with medication. Patients may find day-to-day tasks, such as walking, more difficult due to pain or stiffness. Some individuals develop a slouched posture as the condition progresses.

Painful muscle spasms can occur across the affected parts of the body. These can be dangerous if they impact the chest and respiratory muscles and may require emergency medical treatment and ventilatory support.


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