Celine Dion reveals she's been diagnosed with rare neurological disorder, reschedules tour

ByGood Morning America ABCNews logo
Thursday, December 8, 2022
Céline Dion announces battle with rare neurological disorder
Singer Céline Dion announced on her Instagram that she has Stiff-Person Syndrome and says she is unable to tour in early 2023. Darla Miles has the story.

Céline Dion revealed she has been diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called stiff-person syndrome and must reschedule dates of 2023 tour.

In an emotional video, the Canadian singer shared the news of her health issues, which she says, "affect every aspect of my daily 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," she said. "Recently I have been diagnosed with a very rare neurological disorder called the stiff-person syndrome, which affects something like one in a million people."

The condition affects the brain and spinal cord, causing extreme muscle stiffness, rigidity and painful spasms that can generate enough force to fracture a bone.

WATCH | Dr. Ritesh Ramdhani explains Stiff-Person Syndrome:

Dr. Ritesh Ramdhani discusses the symptoms, risks, and more about Stiff-Person Syndrome, after Celine Dion's recent diagnosis.

The diagnosis has solved the mystery behind severe medical issues that led her to cancel performances over the last two years.

"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. 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," she continued.

Stiff-person syndrome is a rare neurological disorder with features of other autoimmune diseases, according to The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It affects twice as many women as men, according to the organization and scientists don't yet know what causes the condition.

The singer announced she will postpone her 2023 tour to focus on her health.

"It hurts me to tell you today, this means I won't be ready to restart my tour in Europe in February," she said.

A Southern California woman is sharing her experience with stiff-person syndrome after singer Celine Dion revealed she was diagnosed with the rare neurological disorder.

Dion said she's leaning on the support of her children who give her hope and listening to her "great team of doctors" to build back her strength and ability to perform again.

"I have to admit it's been a struggle. All I know is singing. It's what I have done all my life. It's what I love to do the most," she said.

Speaking to her fans, Dion said: "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. 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."

Late last year, Dion had also planned a triumphant return to Las Vegas however "severe and persistent muscle spasms" prevented her from performing in both the tour and the upcoming residency.

There are treatments for stiff-person syndrome but there is no cure.

"As a neurology community, an incident like this, a high profile celebrity starts to talk about the condition, that's certain to increase the awareness," said Dr. Jin Li with Westchester Medical Center.