Tearful Celine Dion reveals she has rare incurable disease that leaves sufferers like ‘living statues’

Celine Dion tells fans on her Instagram page about her condition - Celine Dion
Celine Dion tells fans on her Instagram page about her condition - Celine Dion

Celine Dion has revealed she is suffering from a rare and incurable disorder that causes progressive muscle stiffness - leaving sufferers as "living statues".

The Canadian singer, 54, said she was postponing her 2023 European tour to "build back my strength" and the "ability to perform again" after the recent diagnosis of stiff-person syndrome (SPS).

In an emotional social media post, Dion told fans on Thursday that the very rare condition affects "something like one in a million people".

SPS is characterised by muscle stiffness and rigidity which progressively become more pronounced, leading some sufferers to describe it as being a "living statue".

The muscle spasms can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. They are triggered by unexpected noises, physical contact, stress or emotional anxiety.

While there is no cure for SPS, there are treatments - including anti-anxiety medicines and muscle relaxants - that can slow down its progression.

In an Instagram video, the My Heart Will Go On singer said the condition has caused her to have spasms, affecting her ability to walk and her vocal chords.

In the video, she said they "affect every aspect of my daily life".

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Looking tearful, the five-time Grammy award winner told fans: "As you know I’ve always been an open book and I wasn’t ready to say anything before 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".

The singer, who has three sons, - René-Charles, 21, and 11-year-old twins Nelson and Eddy with her late husband René Angélil - went on to say: "It hurts me to tell you today that this means I won’t be ready to restart my tour in Europe in February."

Several of those shows - including nights in Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester and London - have now been pushed back, while others have been cancelled.

"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 help,” she said. “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.

"I miss you so much. I miss seeing all of you, being on the stage performing for you."

Dion first hinted at her health issues in January, when she cancelled the North American leg of her Courage world tour.

It came three months after she was forced to cancel a return to her Las Vegas residency over the same health issue.

In 2014, the diva - whose ballad My Heart Will Go On, the soundtrack to the movie Titanic, won an Oscar for Best Song - said she was putting her career on hold "indefinitely" as her husband battled cancer.

Although her performances resumed a year later, she stepped away from the stage again in early 2016, following the tragic deaths of both Angélil and her brother, Daniel Dion.

She eventually returned with the 2019 studio album Courage, which featured collaborations with Sia, Sam Smith and David Guetta.