Céline Dion’s sister, Claudette Dion, shared in new interview that the singer has reportedly lost control of some of her mobility amid her stiff-person syndrome diagnosis. The disease is considered to be rare and only affects approximately one in a million people.
According to a translation from French, Claudette Dion told 7 Jours: “She doesn’t have control over her muscles. What pains me is that she has always been disciplined. She always worked hard.” Claudette said that it is her dream and her sister’s to return to the stage one day: “In what capacity? I don’t know. The vocal cords are muscles, and the heart is also a muscle. This is what gets me.” Claudette added, “There are some people who have lost hope because it is a disease that is not known. If you only knew how many calls we receive at the Foundation to hear from Céline! People tell us they love her and pray for her. She receives so many messages, gifts, blessed crucifixes.”
Dion revealed in a video posted on social media in December 2022 that she had been diagnosed with a neurological disorder called stiff person syndrome. The singer said the symptoms are what have been causing her to have severe muscle spasms in the past: “The 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. I have to admit it’s been a struggle. All I know is singing, it’s what I’ve done all my life.” Dion’s diagnosis caused the singer to reschedule and cancel her entire 2023 tour.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, Stiff-person syndrome (‘SPS’), is a disease that causes “progressive muscle stiffness and painful spasms” that are triggered by environmental factors such as “sudden movement, cold temperature or unexpected loud noises.” Yale Medicine writes that prominent SPS symptoms include muscle stiffening and painful muscle spasms that can be provoked by emotional stress or, again, outside stimuli. These spasms can be “so severe that they cause the person to fall down.”
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