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In an emotional video posted on Instagram, Grammy Award winning artist Céline Dion just revealed that she has been diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder that has forced her to reschedule her 2023 tour dates.
Over a year after receiving a huge honor from Berklee College, the 54-year-old Canadian singer shared how suffering from stiff-person syndrome has affected the way she performs and lives her day-to-day life.
"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," said Céline. "Recently I have been diagnosed with a very rare neurological disorder called the stiff-person syndrome (SPS), which affects something like one in a million people."
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (opens in new tab), SPS is a malady that causes fluctuating muscle rigidity in the trunk and limbs alongside a "heightened sensitivity to stimuli such as noise, touch and emotional distress, which can set off muscle spasm."
Usually associated with other autoimmune diseases (think diabetes and thyroiditis, for example), SPS affects twice as many women as men and is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, psychosomatic illness or anxiety.
"While we are still learning about this rare condition, we now know this is what has been causing all of the spasms I have been having," the artist said in her statement. "Unfortunately these spasms affect every aspect of my daily life. Sometimes causing difficulties when I walk and not allowing me to use my vocal chords to sing the way I am used to. It hurts me to tell you today, this means I won't be ready to restart my tour in Europe in February."
A post shared by Céline Dion (@celinedion) (opens in new tab)
A photo posted by on
Specifically, according to the star's website (opens in new tab), the first few shows part of the Courage World Tour, scheduled for February 24, 2023 through April 11, 2023 have been moved to March 6, 2024 to April 22, 2024. All concerts that were supposed to take place between May 31 and July 17, 2023, on the other hand, have been cancelled while the ones planned for August 26, 2023 through October 4, 2023 will remain as scheduled for now.
In her heartfelt message, Céline spoke directly to her fans, professing her devotion and appreciation for them all.
"I miss you so much. I miss seeing all of you. Being on the stage. Performing for you. I always give 100% when I do my shows, but my condition is not allowing me to give you that right now," she noted. "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 am doing everything I can to recuperate."
Fans noticed signs of a potential health issue in October of last year, when, after months of planning her Las Vegas residency, she decided to postpone all shows due to muscle spasms that didn't allow her to properly rehearse.
Although, unfortunately, experts have yet to find a definitive cure for SPS, Céline assured her fans she’s doing the best she can to get back on stage as soon as possible.
"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."
Our thoughts and well wishes are with Céline.
Anna Rahmanan is a New York-based writer and editor who covers culture, entertainment, food, fashion and travel news. Anna’s words have appeared on Time Out New York, the Huffington Post, Fortune, Forbes, Us Weekly, Bon Appetit and Brooklyn Magazine, among other outlets.
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