After having been diagnosed with a rare neurological illness last year, Céline Dion’s sister has given an update on her condition.
Céline Dion no longer has control over her muscles, according to an update by her sister, Claudette.
The Canadian singer is battling with a rare and incurable neurological disorder known as Stiff-Person Syndrome (SPS) – a progressive condition that severely impacts mobility. It affects one person in a million.
Dion revealed that she was diagnosed with the neurological illness last year, leading her to postpone and later cancelling her 2024 ‘Courage’ tour dates due to her “ongoing health issues.”
“It’s not fair to you to keep postponing the shows, and even though it breaks my heart, it’s best that we cancel everything now until I’m really ready to be back on stage again,” she said at the time.
Now, her sister Claudette has shared a new update on the singer’s wellbeing, and revealed that the condition has advanced to the point where she has lost control over her muscles.
“She’s working hard, but she doesn’t have control over her muscles. What breaks my heart is that she’s always been disciplined,” Claudette told Canadian outlet 7 Jours. “She’s always worked hard. Our mother always told her, ‘You’re going to do it well, you’re going to do it properly.’”
She continued by saying that “the goal is to return to the stage.” However, it is unclear in what capacity she would be able to do so.
“The vocal cords are muscles, and the heart is also a muscle. This is what comes to get me,” Claudette explained. “Because it’s (a) one out of a million case, the scientists haven’t done that much research because it didn’t affect that many people.”
Last December, Céline Dion posted a video to her Instagram explaining how the illness was affecting her life.
“These spasms affect every aspect of my 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 explained.
“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, but I have to admit it’s been a struggle.”
What is SPS?
Often misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, or anxiety, Stiff-Person Syndrome is a rare neurological condition which causes rigid muscles and painful spasms.
According to the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), stiff person syndrome is characterised by “abnormal postures, often hunched over and stiffened” and affects twice as many women as men.
Scientists have yet to pinpoint the cause of Stiff-Person Syndrome, but research suggests it may be caused by an autoimmune reaction.
A serious risk for people suffering from SPS is that they can easily fall and sustain injuries.
There is no known cure, but it is treatable through anti-anxiety drugs, muscle relaxants, anti-convulsant medication, pain relievers and immunoglobulin therapy, which can help reduce stiffness and lower sensitivity to noise, touch and other stressors.
Additional sources • 7 Jours