Celine Dion has revealed she’s been diagnosed with a rare neurological condition called stiff-person syndrome, causing her to postpone her spring 2023 European tour. Before her announcement on Thursday, the singer had already pushed the tour from 2022, citing “health issues” at the time.
“As you know, I’ve always been an open book, and I wasn’t ready to say anything before, but I’m ready now,” Dion said in an Instagram video posted Thursday.
“I’ve been dealing with my health for a long time, and it’s been really difficult for me to face these challenges and talk to about the things that I’ve been going through. Recently, I have been diagnosed with a very rare neurological disorder called stiff-person syndrome, which affects something like one-in-a-million people. While we’re still learning about this rare condition, we now know this has what’s been causing all the spasms that I’ve been having.”
In Oct. 2021, Dion postponed the opening of her new Las Vegas residency due to “severe and persistent muscle spasms,” which also forced the cancelation of her North American tour in Jan. 2022. In April, she then postponed the European tour until the spring of 2023 due to “health issues.” “The good news is that I’m doing a little bit better. It’s going very slow, and it’s very frustrating to me,” Dion said at the time without revealing her diagnosis.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), stiff-person syndrome (SPS) is a rare neurological disorder “characterized by fluctuating muscle rigidity in the trunk and limbs and a heightened sensitivity to stimuli such as noise, touch, and emotional distress, which can set off muscle spasms. Abnormal postures, often hunched over and stiffened, are characteristic of the disorder. People with SPS can be too disabled to walk or move, or they are afraid to leave the house because street noises, such as the sound of a horn, can trigger spasms and falls.” NINDS added that SPS “affects twice as many women as men.”
“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. It hurts me to tell today, this means I won’t be ready to restart my tour in Europe in February,” Dion said Thursday.
“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.”
The optimistic Dion postponed the spring 2023 dates to spring 2024 and canceled eight of her upcoming summer 2023 shows; the earliest Dion might return to the stage, as of now, is in late Aug. 2023, as her European concerts spanning Aug. 26 to Oct. 4, 2023, remain on the schedule.
“All I know is singing, it’s what I’ve done all my life, and it’s what I love to do the most,” Dion added.
“I always give 100 percent when I do my shows, but my condition is not allowing me to do that. 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. This is my focus, and I’m doing everything that I can to recuperate.”