Céline Dion Diagnosed With Rare Neurological Disease Known as Stiff Person Syndrome

In an emotional video shared to her Instagram on Thursday, Céline Dion shared that she’s been diagnosed with rare neurological disease Stiff Person Syndrome.

Celine Dion during Paris Fashion Week 2019

Image via Getty/Edward Berthelot

Celine Dion during Paris Fashion Week 2019

Céline Dion has shared that she’s been diagnosed with the rare neurological disease called Stiff Person Syndrome.

In an emotional post shared on her Instagram on Thursday, the 54-year-old French-Canadian singer revealed her diagnosis. "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 condition called Stiff Person Syndrome, which affects something like one in a million people," she said. "While we're still learning about this rare condition, we now know that this is what has been causing all of the spasms that I've been having."

Dion has postponed her European tour, which will now go ahead in 2024 instead of Spring 2023. She sought a diagnosis after facing difficulty with spasms, which she later learned were a result of the disease. She described the symptoms of SPS in October 2021, when she delayed her Las Vegas residency due to “severe and persistent” muscle spasms.

"The 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,” she continued. “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 support medicine therapist every day to build back my strength and my ability to perform again, but I have to admit it’s been a struggle.”

According to the National Institute for Neurological Disorders, Stiff Person Syndrome is 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." There is no cure for SPS, and some impacted by the disease can no longer walk. Sudden noises can also be a big issue, triggering spasms or falls. There are treatments, however, such as anti-anxiety medicines and relaxants that slow down its progression.

Latest in Life