Celine Dion opened up to fans about a serious health struggle she’s been facing that will result in all her 2023 dates being pushed back to 2024 or cancelled entirely. In an emotional video posted on Thursday morning (Dec. 8), the 54-year-old singer described her battle against a rare neurological disorder called “Stiff-Person Syndrome,” which she said has caused uncontrolled and serve muscle spasms.
Celine Dion Pushes European Tour Dates to 2023 Amid Ongoing Health Issue
“As you know, I’ve always been an open book. And I wasn’t ready to say anything before,” said a solemn Dion, seemingly on the verge of tears in the brief video. “But I’m ready now… ’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.”
Fighting to keep her composure, Dion said she was recently diagnosed with the “very rare” disorder that affects one in a million people. While her team is still learning about the condition, she said they now know that SPS has been causing all the spasms that she’s 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’m used to,” Dion said. “I have to admit it’s been a struggle. All I know is singing, it’s what I’ve done all my life.”
The immediate result is that she will not be able to re-start her tour in Europe in February as planned. In fact, she said, all of her spring 2023 dates will move to 2024 and 8 of her summer 2023 shows have been cancelled. The shows scheduled from Feb. 24 to April 11, 2023 will now move to March 6-April 22, 2024 and her summer 2023 shows slated for May 31-July 17 have been cancelled; a run of shows scheduled from August 26-Oct. 4, 2023 remain on her schedule as of now.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, SPS is a rare neurological disorder that has features of an autoimmune disease. It 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. Abnormal postures, often hunched over and stiffened, are characteristic of the disorder.” People with SPS can be too disabled to walk or move and may be “afraid to leave the house because street noises, such as the sound of a horn, can trigger spasms and falls.” According to the Institute, the disorder affects twice as many women as men and science does not yet understand what cause it.
The current treatment is a regimen of anti-convulsants and valium and intravenous treatments aimed at reducing stiffness and lowering sensitivity to touch, noise and stress. The preferred treatments can improve symptoms, but a cure is not yet known and sufferers are often subject to frequent falls because of a lack of the usual defensive reflexes.
“I have a great team of doctors working alongside me to help me get better,” Dion said, adding that her “precious children” are standing beside her and giving her hope. “I’m 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’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.”
Gathering her composure, Dion told her fans that she misses them terribly and that she misses performing for them. “I always give 100% when I do my shows,” she said. But my condition is not allowing me to give you that right now.” Dion said she’s hopeful that she is on the road to recovery and is spending all her time focusing on getting better. “I really hope I can see you again real soon,” she said emotionally at the end of the statement.
Back in April, Dion once again postponed her Courage World Tour citing a then-unnamed health issue that was causing severe and persistent muscle spasms. At the time, the European leg of her tour originally slated to kick off in May of this year (and last through late September) were pushed to February 2023 and slated to run through Oct. 4, 2023. In addition, her Las Vegas residency was cancelled in Oct. 2021 after she said she was suffering from spasms.
To see the full list of cancelled and rescheduled shows, click here.
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