Celine Dion has been diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS), which causes her muscles to spasm uncontrollably.
The condition eventually leaves patients like “human statues,” as the body gradually locks into rigid positions, eventually rendering people unable to walk or talk.
While there’s no cure for the condition, there are treatments to help slow its progression, with Celine revealing she’s doing everything she can to minimize symptoms.
The 54-year-old singer addressed her fans in a tearful Instagram post on Thursday when she revealed it forced her to cancel her European tour.
Heartbreaking: Celine Dion revealed in a tearful Instagram post on Thursday that she has been diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome, which causes her muscles to tense uncontrollably
She wrote, “Hi everyone, I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you. I miss you all so much and can’t wait to get on stage to talk to you in person.
“As you know I’ve always been an open book and I wasn’t ready to say anything, but now I’m ready.
“I have been struggling with my health issues for a long time and it has been very difficult for me to face my challenges and talk about all that I have been through.
“Recently I was diagnosed with a very rare neurological condition, stiff person syndrome, which affects 1 in a million people
“While we’re still learning about this rare condition, we now know it’s the cause of all the spasms I’ve had.”
Tragic: SPS leaves patients like ‘human statues’ as the body gradually locks into rigid positions, with Celine revealing it had forced her to cancel her European tour (pictured in 2019)
Describing the impact the condition has had on her, Celine continues: ‘Unfortunately, these spasms affect every aspect of my daily life, sometimes causing difficulty in walking and preventing me from using my vocal cords to sing as I am used to.
“It pains me to tell you today that it means I won’t be ready to resume my tour in Europe in February
“I have a great team of doctors who work alongside me to help me get better and my precious children who support and help me.
WHAT IS STICK PERSON SYNDROME?
This rare condition is a neurological disorder. Its origin is unclear.
As the name suggests, it gradually locks the body into rigid positions, starting with the trunk muscles (torso and neck, extending to the extremities).
As the disease progresses, patients are sometimes unable to walk or bend over.
Interestingly, it affects twice as many women as men.
It is often associated with other autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, thyroiditis, vitiligo and pernicious anemia.
Treatment consists of anti-anxiety drugs, muscle relaxants, anticonvulsants, and pain relievers, which improve symptoms, but there is no cure.
Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders
“I work hard every day with my sports medicine therapist to build my strength and my ability to perform again, but I have to admit it has been a struggle.
‘All I know is singing, that’s what I’ve been doing all my life and what I love to do the most.
‘I miss you very much. I miss seeing you all perform on stage for you.
“I always give 100 percent when I do my show, but my condition allows me to give you that now.
“If I want to reach you again, I have no choice but to focus on my health right now and I have hope that I am on the road to recovery.
“This is my focus and I am doing everything I can to recover.
“I want to thank you so much for your wishes and love and support on my social media. This means a lot to me.
‘Take care of yourself. Best wishes. I love you so much and I really hope I can see you again soon.”
Celine first hinted at her health issues in January when she canceled the North American dates of her Courage world tour from March 9 to April 22.
She was forced to cancel the shows due to “severe and persistent muscle spasms,” according to a press release on her website.
The announcement came three months after she had to cancel the start of her comeback residency in Las Vegas due to the same health issue.
A statement on her website said Celine “has recently been treated for severe and persistent muscle spasms that prevent her from performing, and her recovery is taking longer than she had hoped,” according to her website.
“Her medical team continues to evaluate and treat the condition.”
She herself said: ‘I really hoped that I would be out by now, but I think I just need to be more patient and follow the regimen that my doctors prescribe.
The superstar singer added: “There is a lot of organization and preparation that goes into our shows, which is why we have to make decisions today that will affect plans two months from now. I will be so happy to be back to full health, and that we are all getting through this pandemic, and I can’t wait to get back on stage.”
She continued, “Meanwhile, I am very moved by all the words of encouragement that everyone has been sending to me on social media. I feel your love and support and that means everything to me.”
Celine became known as ‘Queen Of Las Vegas’ in recent decades due to her hugely successful residencies there.
After giving up her celebrity residency at Caesars Palace in 2019, she was lured back to Sin City to perform at the new Resorts World on the Strip.
It is the latest tragedy to befall Celine after the death of her husband Rene Angelil at the age of 73 in 2016.
Celine shares three sons with her late husband – Rene-Charles, 20, and twins Nelson and Eddy, 11.
She met Rene in Canada when she was a 12 year old aspiring singer and he was already 38. He became her manager.
His dedication to nurturing her career reportedly drove him to mortgage his home so he could finance her 1981 debut album La Voix du bon Dieu.
Rene and Celine officially started dating in 1987 – when she was just 19 years old and he was 45 – and in 1991 they became engaged.
However, it wasn’t until 1993 that she publicized their romance, slipping the announcement into the liner notes of her album The Color Of My Love.
In December 1994, they were married at Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal, where their eldest son Rene-Charles’ baptism and Rene’s funeral took place.
Rene died at the age of 73 of a heart attack while suffering from terminal throat cancer in January 2016. Two days later, Celine lost her brother Daniel to throat cancer.
In August, Celine released a tribute album to him in French titled Encore un soir, featuring a single of the same name that became a hit in French-speaking markets.
Heartbreaking: It’s the latest tragedy to befall Celine following the death of her husband Rene Angelil at the age of 73 in 2016 (pictured in 2012)