Today, Céline Dion announced that she’s been diagnosed with stiff-person syndrome (SPS), a neurological disease that’s said to affect as few as one in a million people. To share the news, the 54-year-old Québécoise singer and mother of three took to Instagram in a candid and emotional video.
“As you know, I’ve always been an open book,” said Dion. “I wasn’t ready to say anything before, but I’m ready now. 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.” She went on to reveal that stiff-person syndrome is the health hurdle she’s been facing, elaborating on how the condition impacts her day to day.
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“Unfortunately, the spasms affect every aspect of my daily life,” she continued, “sometimes causing difficulties when I walk and not allowing me to use my vocal chords to sing the way I’m used to.” According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, SPS is a rare disorder with features of an autoimmune disease. It is characterized by fluctuating muscle rigidity in the trunk and limbs and a heightened sensitivity to noise, touch, and emotional distress, which can set off muscle spasms.
In order to prioritize her health, Dion revealed she’ll be rescheduling her 2023 Courage world tour across Europe. “All I know is singing,” said Dion. “It’s what I’ve done all my life, and it’s what I love to do the most. I miss you so much. I miss seeing all of you, being on the stage, performing for you.… 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.”
Dion has shown resilience throughout her personal life—she lost her husband and lifelong mentor, René Angélil, in 2016—as well as in her prodigious career as the best-selling Canadian artist of all time. The five-time Grammy winner will no doubt harness her international stardom to raise awareness of SPS and make others suffering feel less alone and inspired as she perseveres. Who better than Dion to embody the title of her Courage world tour?