The family of Céline Dion is sharing details of the rare disorder that’s kept the music legend off stage over the last several months.
In an interview with Hello! this week, Dion’s sister Claudette said the singer’s family is “crossing our fingers” to find a remedy for Dion’s “awful disease,” stiff-person syndrome, an autoimmune neurological disease that causes muscle stiffness and painful spasms.
“There are spasms — they’re impossible to control,” Claudette told the outlet. “You know people who often jump up in the night because of a cramp in the leg or the calf? It’s a bit like that, but in all muscles. There’s little we can do to support her, to alleviate her pain.”
“She’s doing everything to recover,” Claudette added. “She’s a strong woman.”
Dion was scheduled to go on tour in Spring 2023, but canceled it last December after opening up about her condition in an Instagram video: “It’s been really difficult for me to face these challenges and talk to about the things that I’ve been going through… While we’re still learning about this rare condition, we now know this has what’s been causing all the spasms that I’ve been having.”
Claudette told Hello! that it was “comforting” to know that Dion is surrounded by both her husband and their sister Linda, who live in Las Vegas near the singer.
In May, the artist ended up canceling her shows in Europe. “I’m so sorry to disappoint all of you once again,” Dion said at the time. “I’m working really hard to build back my strength, but touring can be very difficult even when you’re 100%. 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 added: “I want you all to know, I’m not giving up… and I can’t wait to see you again!”
In Oct. 2021, Dion postponed the opening of her new Las Vegas residency due to “severe and persistent muscle spasms,” which also forced the cancelation of her North American tour in Jan. 2022. In April, she then postponed the European tour until the spring of 2023 due to “health issues.”