Céline Dion Vows to Perform Again After Stiff Person Syndrome Diagnosis: ‘Even if I Have to Crawl’

In Entertainment
June 11, 2024
Celine Dion - Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Celine Dion – Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Céline Dion has vowed to return to the stage following her diagnosis with Stiff Person Syndrome.

In a new clip from the singer’s interview with Today’s Hoda Kotb, which airs tonight, June 11 at 10 p.m. ET, Dion declared, “I’m going to go back onstage. Even if I have to crawl, even if I have to talk with my hands. I will.”

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Though she did not publicly reveal her battle with Stiff Person Syndrome until last year, the singer first began experiencing symptoms of the rare neurological condition nearly two decades ago during the 2008 Taking Chances World Tour while in Germany.

“I started to feel that the body was getting more rigid,” she told Kotb, adding that she was very scared when she took the stage and noticed that “I started to sound more nasal.”

To compensate, she said, “We lowered the songs a little bit with the keys, and project more nasal, and hope.”

But the muscle spasms that accompanied her symptoms eventually led to her canceling shows. “I could not do this anymore. What do you want me to say? I have, what? We did not know what was going on,” she explained. “I did not take the time I should have stopped. Take the time to figure it out.”

After more than a decade of testing and treatment, she eventually received her diagnosis, which can cause stiffness in the body and limbs, as well as debilitating spasms.

In a previous clip from Dion’s interview with Kotb, she described what performing with Stiff Person’s Syndrome felt like, saying it was like singing while “somebody is strangling you.” In another segment, she explained why she finally shared her diagnosis: Lying for me, the burden was too much. Lying to the people who got me where I am today, I could not do it anymore,” she said.

In the new clip shared on Tuesday, she said that, at first, it was difficult to hear people say her name while she was still processing what was happening with her health. “I did not know who I was anymore, because I’m not the person that I used to be. I want it to be my own hero to be the best of me. Brave…show must go on.”

Following intensive physical therapy and vocal rehabilitation with medication, Dion said she is determined to perform again. “I am Celine Dion,” she said. “Because today my voice will be heard for the first time, not just because I have to, or because I need to. Because I want to, and I miss it.”

While Dion remained coy about when her next performance might take place, she confirmed there is a plan in place. “So, we know there is a date upcoming,” Kotb said.

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