Céline Dion revealed Thursday morning that she’s been diagnosed with stiff-person syndrome, a rare and incurable neurological disease that can cause debilitating muscle spasms.
In a tearful video posted to her Instagram account in both English and French, the Canadian singer said her condition would force her to postpone and cancel a series of upcoming concert dates.
“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, 54, wrote in the caption of the post. “It hurts me to tell you that I won’t be ready to restart my tour in Europe in February.”
“Recently, I’ve been diagnosed with a very rare neurological condition called stiff-person syndrome, which affects something like one in a million people,” she said in her video. “While we’re still learning about this rare condition, we now know that this is what has been causing all of the spasms that I’ve been having.”
The condition, according to the Stiff Person Syndrome Foundation, affects the central nervous system, specifically the brain and spinal cord. “Patients can be disabled, wheelchair-bound or bed-ridden, unable to work and care for themselves,” they say, adding that the neurological disease with autoimmune features can include symptoms like “hyper-rigidity, debilitating pain, chronic anxiety,” and muscle spasms “so violent they can dislocate joints and even break bones.”
“Unfortunately, these spasms affect every aspect of my daily life,” Dion continued. “Sometimes causing difficulties when I walk and not allowing me to use my vocal cords to sing the way I’m used to.”
Dion — who has three sons, René-Charles, 21, and 11-year-old twins Nelson and Eddy with her late husband René Angélil — went on to note that she has “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,” she said.
Because of her condition, Dion’s Spring 2023 shows have been rescheduled to 2024, while eight of her summer 2023 shows — previously scheduled from May 31 to July 17, 2023 — have been canceled altogether.
But the five-time Grammy winner said that she is not giving up on being able to perform again. “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’m working hard with my sports medicine therapist every day to build back my strength and my ability to perform again,” Dion added. “But I have to admit, it’s been a struggle.”
The “My Heart Will Go On” singer became even more emotional while expressing her love for her fans. “I miss you so much. I miss seeing all of you. Being on the stage. Performing for you. I always give 100 percent when I do my shows, but my condition is not allowing me to give you that right now.”
“For me to reach you again, I have no choice but to concentrate on my health at this moment,” she said of the difficult situation. “And I have hope that I’m on the road to recovery. This is my focus and I’m doing everything I can to recuperate. 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,” she concluded, in tears. “Thank you.”
Dion first canceled her tour because of the pandemic and then again in January due to health reasons relating to this condition, as we now know. In April, she updated fans that plans for a 2022 tour would be rescheduled to 2023.
“I’m doing my very best to get back to the level that I need to be so that I can give 100% at my shows because that’s what you deserve,” she announced via video post in April.
More information about her rescheduled European tour dates can be found on her official website.