Celine Dion Explains What Stiff-Person Syndrome Is Like

Singer says she's fighting hard to be able to perform again
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2024 2:30 AM CDT

In an upcoming interview and documentary, Celine Dion is talking openly about her struggle with stiff-person syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that causes muscle rigidity and spasms. Dion, who was planning to resume her pandemic-disrupted Courage world tour when she fell ill and was diagnosed, says she is still fighting to get to a place where she can perform again. But that fight is a hard one: Describing what it's like to sing with stiff-person syndrome, Dion told NBC's Hoda Kotb, "It's like somebody is strangling you. It's like somebody's pushing your larynx, pharynx, this way," she said, pushing on her throat to demonstrate the strain on her voice.

Dion also told Kotb that her hands will cramp up to the point that they seem frozen, and that she's had spasms so bad she broke ribs. The interview airs in full Tuesday night on NBC, CNN reports. Dion also has a documentary coming out on Prime Video June 25, the Los Angeles Times reports. In a trailer for the documentary, she can be seen exercising and stretching. "I've been working hard every day. But I have to admit, it's been a struggle," she says, tearing up as she talks about how much she misses performing, and misses her fans. "If I can't run, I'll walk. If I can't walk, I'll crawl. I won't stop." (More Celine Dion stories.)

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