Celine Dion says she's been diagnosed with rare neurological condition
Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, December 8, 2022 8:40AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, December 8, 2022 5:36PM EST
Celine Dion said she has been diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder that is the cause of the muscle spasms that have interrupted her life and forced her to postpone concerts.
The Quebec-born singer announced that she has “stiff person syndrome” in a video posted to Instagram on Thursday morning, as she postponed and cancelled yet more of her European tour dates.
The condition is characterized by sudden severe muscle spasms.
“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,” Dion said in the video.
She said “she has no choice” but to concentrate on her health, and has postponed her European “Courage World Tour” dates from February to April and cancelled a run of shows from May to July.
Her shows from August to October are set to proceed as scheduled.
She said it's been difficult to face and talk openly about her health struggles, after first postponing the tour in April citing severe and persistent muscle spasms.
Dion said she is working with a team of doctors and has the support of her children as she tries to return to the stage.
“I have hope that I'm on the road to recovery. This is my focus and I'm doing everything I can to recuperate,” she said in the video.
“I'm working hard with my sports medicine therapist every day to build back my strength and my ability to perform again,” she said.
“But I have to admit, it's been a struggle. All I know is singing. It's what I've done all my life, and it's what I love to do the most.”
Tara Zier, who founded the Stiff Person Syndrome Research Foundation, said she hopes the new spotlight on the health condition leads to some change.
“I'm very grateful for Celine to share her story and use her beautiful voice to shine a light on this disease,” Zier said in a phone interview from Bethesda, Md.
“I listened to her this morning talk about hope. Knowing that there's hope is important for this disease. I believe that with research, with awareness and with the right people, that we can get better treatments and a cure.”
Zier said that while she's sad that Dion has this condition, she's glad the singer finally has an answer about what's been causing her muscle spasms.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault also extended his sympathies to Dion.
“We're very sad about Celine Dion, of course we hope she gets well as soon as possible,” he told reporters ahead of question period on Thursday. “We're so proud of her.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2022.