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Céline Dion diagnosed with "very rare neurological disorder" that prevents her from singing normally

Céline Dion diagnosed with neurological syndrome
Céline Dion announces diagnosis of stiff-person syndrome 00:28

Singer Céline Dion announced that she is rescheduling her spring 2023 shows and canceling eight of her concerts planned for next summer after being diagnosed with a "very rare neurological disorder." 

The 54-year-old French Canadian singer, known for hits "Because You Loved Me," "My Heart Will Go On" and "The Power of Love," posted two videos on Instagram on Thursday – one in English and another in French – revealing that she suffers from "stiff-person syndrome." 

"I've always been an open book and I wasn't ready to say anything before, but I'm ready now," Dion says in the video, growing visibly emotional. "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." 

"Recently, I've been diagnosed with a very rare neurological disorder called stiff-person syndrome, which affects something like one in a million people," she continued. "While we're still learning about this rare condition, we now know this has been what's causing all of the spasms I've been having."

Stiff-person syndrome is a rare neurological disorder "with features of an autoimmune disease," according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The disorder causes the body to become rigid and also increases sensitivity to noise, touch and emotional distress, leading to muscle spasms, the institute said.

Dion said that these spasms have been affecting "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." 

Because of this, she said she "won't be ready" to restart her European tour in February. She said she has "no choice" but to focus on her health, but she has hope that she's "on the road to recovery." 

Dion had been scheduled for a European tour through July of 2023 – going from the Czech Republic, Cyprus, London, Italy and more. Those dates, however, have been canceled. She now plans on doing a fewer number of shows in the spring of 2024, with the dates and locations available on her website

"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. 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." 

"Take care of yourselves, be well," she said in an emotional farewell in the video. "I love you guys so much. And I really hope I can see you again real soon."

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