Celine Dion cancels European tour after being diagnosed with incurable neurological condition

Image of pop superstar Celine Dion.

Image of pop superstar Celine Dion. Credit: Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock.com

Canadian singer Celine Dion has cancelled her upcoming European tour after emotionally announcing to fans her diagnosis of the rare and incurable neurological condition ‘Stiff Person Syndrome’. 

Fifty-four-year-old Celine Dion, today (Thursday, December 8), told fans in an Instagram post that she had been forced to cancel the rest of her European tour due to ‘spasms’ she is experiencing because of her condition, which leaves sufferers as ‘human statues’.

The mother-of-three tearfully told fans she had been ‘struggling’ with spasms which affected ‘every aspect’ of her daily life, including her ‘vocal cords’ and her ability to sing. 

Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS) is an extremely rare neurological disorder estimated to affect just one in a million, and involves muscle rigidity and a heightened sensitivity to stimuli such as touch, noise, and emotional distress – which can set off muscle spasms. 

Though there are treatments for the condition, there is no known cure. 

The singer and best-selling Canadian recording artist told fans in videos posted on her Instagram – one in English and another in French – that the diagnosis affecting her voice ‘hurt’ as singing is ‘all I have’. 

But Dion hasn’t given up hope, and says she is working with a team of doctors and a ‘sports medicine therapist’ to try to ‘build back her strength’ and her ‘ability to perform’. 

Celine Dion, who is also the best-selling French-language artist of all time, struggled to hold back tears as she told fans: “I am sorry it has taken me so long to reach out to you. I miss you all so much and I can’t wait to be on stage talking to you in person. 

“As you know, I have always been an open book, and I wasn’t ready to say anything before… but I am ready now. 

“I have been dealing with problems with my health for a long time and it has been really difficult for me to face these challenges and to talk about everything that I have been going through. 

“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. 

“While we are still learning about this rare condition, we now know this is what has been causing all 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 cords to sing the way I am used to. 

“It hurts me to tell you today that this means I won’t be ready to restart my tour in Europe in February. 

“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 am working hard with my sports medicine therapist every day to build back my strength and my ability to perform again but, I have to admit, it has been a struggle. 

“All I have is singing… It’s what I have done all my life and it is what I love to do the most… it means so much.

“I miss seeing all of you, being onstage, performing for you…

“I always give 100 per cent 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 am on the road to recovery. 

“This is my focus and I am doing everything that I can to recuperate. 

“I want to thank you so much for your encouraging wishes of love and support on my social media. This means a lot to me. 

“Take care of yourselves; be well. I love you guys so much and I really hope I can see you again real soon. Thank you.”

Dion – known for her powerful and technically skilled vocals – is one of the best-selling musicians of all time, with worldwide record sales of more than 200 million. 

Her most famous songs include My Heart Will Go On, which served as the main soundtrack for James Cameron’s 1997 film Titanic, starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio.

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Written by

James Gamble