Celine Dion Reveals Stiff-Person Syndrome Diagnosis, Cancels Tour

THURSDAY, Dec. 8, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Singer Celine Dion announced Thursday that she is living with a rare neurological condition called stiff-person syndrome.

Dion said she has canceled and postponed tour dates to deal with her health issues.

“As you know, I’ve always been an open book and 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,” Dion said on Instagram.

“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,” Dion continued. “While we’re still learning about this rare condition, we now know this is what’s been causing all of the spasms that I’ve been having. 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 symptoms include fluctuating muscle rigidity in the trunk and limbs, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). These can trigger muscle spasms and be disabling. Some with the disease can’t walk or move, the NIH said. The disease, which has some features of an autoimmune disease, can also cause heightened sensitivity to noise, touch and emotional distress.

Dion has canceled her North American tour dates in January, as well as postponing her European tour dates.

“It hurts me to tell you today that this means I won’t be ready to restart my tour in Europe in February,” Dion said in the emotional video. “I have a great team of doctors working alongside me to help me get better and my precious children, who are supporting me and giving me hope.”

Dion also talked of her efforts to restore her health.

“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. 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. I always give a hundred percent when I do my shows, but my condition is not allowing me to give you that right now,” she said.

Stiff-person syndrome can be misdiagnosed and mistaken for other neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, psychosomatic illness, or anxiety and phobia, according to the NIH. It’s twice as common in women as in men.

“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,” Dion said. “Take care of yourselves. Be well. I love you guys so much and I really hope I can see you again real soon.”

Currently Dion’s plan for her rescheduled European tour starts with a March 6, 2024, concert in Prague and concludes April 22, 2024, in London, NBC News reported.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more on stiff-person syndrome.