Celine Dion reveals broken ribs and singing struggles due to rare stiff person syndrome

Celine Dion reveals broken ribs and singing struggles due to rare stiff person syndrome

Celine Dion has recently opened up about her ongoing battle with stiff person syndrome, a rare and incurable neurological disorder that has significantly impacted her ability to perform. In a heartfelt video message to her fans, the 54-year-old singer revealed the extent of her struggles, including broken ribs and severe muscle spasms that have made singing, her lifelong passion, incredibly challenging.

Dion’s announcement came with the painful news that she would not be able to resume her European tour in February. Earlier this year, she had already canceled the North American leg of her Courage World Tour due to health issues. The singer explained that the spasms caused by stiff person syndrome have been debilitating, affecting various parts of her body, including her abdomen, spine, and ribs.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke describes stiff person syndrome as a rare, progressive disorder that affects the nervous system, particularly the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include extreme muscle stiffness, rigidity, and painful spasms that can severely impair mobility. In some cases, the spasms are so intense that they can fracture bones, as Dion has experienced.

In an emotional interview with NBC’s Hoda Kotb, Dion described the sensation of trying to sing with this condition as feeling like someone is strangling her. She demonstrated the pressure on her throat, explaining that it feels as if someone is pushing her larynx in a way that makes it difficult to produce sound. The spasms have even led to broken ribs, highlighting the severity of her condition.

Despite the challenges, Dion remains hopeful and is under medical care to manage her symptoms. Doctors have identified something in her blood that may explain why she contracted this rare disorder, and she is undergoing treatment to try to regain some normalcy in her life. This journey is also the focus of an upcoming documentary, “I Am: Celine Dion,” which aims to give fans an intimate look at her struggles and determination to perform again.

Dion’s revelation has been met with an outpouring of support from fans and the music community. She expressed her deep love for her fans and her hope to see them again soon, despite the uncertainty surrounding her ability to tour in the future. A source close to Dion mentioned that she might never tour again, but the singer remains determined to overcome her condition.

The documentary, set to stream on Prime Video, will provide a closer look at Dion’s life with stiff person syndrome and her efforts to manage the disorder. In a recent interview with Vogue, Dion shared that her happiness has returned since publicly disclosing her diagnosis. She described the relief of no longer carrying the burden of secrecy and being able to focus on her reality.

Dion has been receiving extensive therapy, including vocal, physical, and athletic training, to help manage her symptoms. She works diligently with a medical team to maintain her strength and ability to perform. Her goal is to one day return to the stage and continue doing what she loves most—singing.

Stiff person syndrome is a rare and serious condition that affects only one or two people in a million. It is characterized by muscle stiffness and spasms that can be triggered by noise, touch, or emotional stress. The disorder can severely impact a person’s quality of life, making it difficult to walk, move, or even stand without falling.

The exact cause of stiff person syndrome remains unknown, but it is believed to be an autoimmune response affecting the brain and spinal cord. The condition is often associated with other autoimmune diseases, such as diabetes and thyroiditis. There is currently no cure, but symptoms can be managed with medication and various forms of therapy.

Dion’s journey with stiff person syndrome has been long and arduous. She first began experiencing symptoms years before her official diagnosis. During her 2008 Taking Chances World Tour, she noticed difficulties controlling her voice, which would spasm unexpectedly. Over time, the condition worsened, affecting her balance and ability to walk.

In December 2022, Dion publicly revealed her diagnosis, explaining that the spasms had been affecting every aspect of her daily life. She has been working tirelessly with her medical team to build back her strength and hopes to one day return to performing. While the future remains uncertain, Dion’s determination and passion for music continue to drive her forward.

As fans await the release of her documentary, they remain hopeful that Dion will overcome this challenging chapter in her life. Her story is a testament to her resilience and unwavering dedication to her craft, inspiring many who face their own battles with chronic illness.

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