‘Resilient’ Celine Dion is ‘focusing on her health and children’ after being diagnosed with the rare neurological condition Stiff Person Syndrome, which causes her muscles to tense uncontrollably.
The 54-year-old singer moved fans to tears as she revealed she had the incurable neurological condition in an Instagram post on Thursday – which has forced her to postpone her European tour.
A source told People on Friday: ‘Celine is overwhelmed and moved by the outpouring of love and support from her fans,
‘It’s been a very difficult time and she has a hard road ahead of her, but she is doing everything she can to get back on stage and see her fans.’
Heartbreaking: ‘Resilient’ Celine Dion is ‘focusing on her health and children’ after being diagnosed with the rare neurological condition Stiff Person Syndrome, which causes her muscles to tense uncontrollably. The 54-year-old singer moved fans
‘They have always been there for her. For now, she is focusing on her health and her children. She is the picture of resilience.’
The star is mother to three sons – Rene-Charles, 21, and twins Nelson and Eddy, 12 – whose father is her late husband René Angélil, who died in 2016.
The condition, which affects one in a million people, ultimately leaves sufferers as ‘human statues’ as it progressively locks the body into rigid positions, leaving sufferers unable to walk or talk.
While there is no cure for SPS, there are treatments to slow down the progression, with Celine revealing she is doing all she can to minimize symptoms.
Family: Celine shares three sons with her late husband – Rene-Charles, 21, and twins Nelson and Eddy, 12 (pictured in May)
She penned: ‘Hello everyone, I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to reach out to you. I miss you all so much and can’t wait to be on stage talking to you in person.
‘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 has been really difficult for me to face my challenges and to talk about everything that I’ve been going through.
‘Recently, I’ve been diagnosed with a very rare neurological disorder called the stiff person syndrome, which affects one in a million people.
‘While we’re still learning about this rare condition, we now know this is what’s been causing all the spasms I’ve been having.’
Tragic: SPS leaves sufferers as ‘human statues’ as it progressively locks the body into rigid positions, with Celine revealing it had forced her to cancel her European tour (pictured in 2019)
Detailing the impact the condition has had on her, Celine continued: ‘Unfortunately, these 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 .
It hurts me to tell you today that this means I won’t be ready to restart my tour in Europe in February.
‘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.
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.
‘All I know is singing it’s what I’ve done all my life and its what I love to do the most.
I miss you so much. I miss seeing all of you being on stage performing for you.
‘I always give 100 percent when I do my show but my condition is now allowing me to give you that right now.
‘For me to reach you again, I have no choice but to concentrate on my health at this moment, and I have hope that I’m on the road to recovery.
‘This is my focus, and I’m doing everything I can to recover.
I want to thank you so much for your wishes and love and support on my social media. This means a lot to me.
‘Take care of yourselves. Be well. I love you guys so much and I really hope I can see you again real soon.’
Celine then updated fans on her tour dates as she shared a poster of the rescheduled and canceled concerts.
The mother-of-three first hinted at her health woes in January when she canceled the North American dates of her Courage world tour from March 9 to April 22.
Heartbreaking: It’s the latest tragedy to befall Celine following her husband Rene Angelil’s death aged 73 in 2016 (pictured in 2012)
The announcement came three months after she had to cancel the start of her Las Vegas comeback residency over the same health issue.
How can her heart go on? FEMAIL reveals Celine Dion’s other devastating tragedies she’s had to weather
As Celine Dion announces she has an incurable neurological disease diagnosis, FEMAIL reveals the other devastating tragedies she’s had to weather – from the deaths of her husband and brother within DAYS to the loss of her 16-year-old niece.
Celine has become known as ‘Queen Of Las Vegas’ because of her enormously successful residencies there.
After retiring from her famous Caesars Palace residency in 2019, she was coaxed back to Sin City to perform at the new Resorts World on the Strip.
A statement on her website said that Celine ‘recently has been treated for severe and persistent muscle spasms which are preventing her from performing, and her recovery is taking longer than she hoped.
‘Her medical team continues to evaluate and treat the condition.’
Celine added: ‘I was really hoping that I’d be good to go by now, but I suppose I just have to be more patient and follow the regimen that my doctors are prescribing.
‘There’s a lot of organizing and preparation that goes into our shows, and so we have to make decisions today which will affect the plans two months down the road. I’ll be so glad to get back to full health, as well as all of us getting past this pandemic, and I can’t wait to be back on stage again.’
‘Meanwhile, I’ve been very touched by all the words of encouragement that everyone’s been sending to me on social media. I feel your love and support and it means the world to me.’
In 2019, Celine sparked concern among her followers who accused her of being ‘too thin’.
Health: While there is no cure for the condition, there are treatments to slow down the progression, with Celine revealing she is doing all she can to minimize symptoms
Last picture: Celine has not been photographed since this picture in January 2022
The Canadian songstress told Entertainment Tonight that ‘she’s always been very thin,’ adding ‘Is there anything wrong about my body?’
She continued: ‘When you go back, when I was 12 years old, my face was rounder because you have more fat and you’re younger… But I’ve always been very thin.’
The SPS diagnosis is the latest tragedy to befall Celine following her husband Rene Angelil’s death aged 73 in 2016.
Update: Celine then updated fans on her tour dates as she shared a poster of the rescheduled and canceled concerts
She brought Rene to Canada when she was a 12-year-old aspiring singer and he was already 38. He became her manager.
His dedication to nurturing her career reportedly drove him to mortgage his home so that he could provide funding for her 1981 debut album La Voix du bon Dieu.
Rene and Celine officially started dating in 1987 – when she was just 19 years old and he was 45 – and in 1991 they got engaged.
It was only in 1993, however, that she publicized their romance, slipping the announcement into the liner notes of her album The Color Of My Love.
In December 1994 they married in Montreal’s Notre-Dame Basilica, which became the venue for their eldest son Rene-Charles’ christening and Rene’s funeral.
Rene died at 73 of a heart attack while suffering from terminal throat cancer in January 2016. Two days later, Celine lost her brother Daniel to throat cancer.
That August, Celine released a tribute album to him in French entitled Encore un soir, with a single of the same name that was a hit in francophone markets.
Fans have been left ‘heartbroken’ over the news and took to social media to voice their support and condolences.
One person tweeted: ‘I just knew it was serious. Celine, you are my hero. One in a billion. Of course, it had to be something so rare to take you down. But you’ve got this!’
Another wrote: ‘Praying for @celinedion’s health and recovery this morning. Celine has been such an inspiration to me throughout the years – sending all my love her way today x’.
Someone else echoed: ‘my heart aches for celine dion! that lady has done so much for her fans and to see her in such pain is just heartbreaking! a beautiful soul like hers don’t deserve this #prayersforcelinedion’.
And a fourth agreed, writing: ‘Heartbroken and in tears over the news of @celinedion. I adore you. You were my very first concert right after titanic came out. I will never forget you singing my heart will go on on a titanic model ship. I am praying for you in the deepest possible way. I love you’.
Upset: Fans have been left ‘heartbroken’ over the news and took to social media to voice their support and condolences