Céline Dion ignored early symptoms of Stiff Person Syndrome for years


Celine Dion. File Photo / Getty Images
Celine Dion. File Photo / Getty Images
Céline Dion says she did not “take the time” to understand the early symptoms of her Stiff Person Syndrome.

The 56-year-old ‘My Heart Will Go On’ singer was forced to stop performing following her 2022 diagnosis of the condition, and she has now opened up about how she was distracted from the signs of the condition by caring for her ailing husband and her family.

While Dion revealed that she had been diagnosed with the rare autoimmune neurological disorder in 2022, she had actually been experiencing symptoms, beginning 17 years ago. She has given an interview to the ‘Today’ show ahead of the release of her documentary. ‘I Am: Celine Dion.’ A trailer for the upcoming film reveals Dion opens up about her experiences with the condition.

‘She had it for 17 years and she didn’t know what was wrong and she was worried,’ ‘Today’ show broadcaster Hoda Kotb, 59, shared with her cohosts following a teaser for her interview with Celine.

‘Her voice was gone, her body was failing her, she was tripping and falling, all these things were happening,’ Hoda said.

In a preview for the interview that aired on the Today show Dion said she should have explored the symptoms more but she reasoned she was balancing other challenges at the time.

“I did not take the time, I should have stopped, take the time to figure it out,” she told  Kotb.

Referring to how she was caring for her throat cancer-stricken husband René Angélil at the time – who died from the disease aged 73 in 2016 after they were married for 22 years – she added: “My husband as well was fighting for his own life. I had to raise my kids, I had to hide. I had to try to be a hero.”

But she added about her symptoms becoming too unbearable to stop sharing with her loved ones: “Feeling my body leaving me, holding on to my own dreams… I could not do this anymore.

“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 a preview clip of her chat with Hoda about how the disease has left her fighting for air: “It’s like somebody is strangling you. It’s like somebody is pushing your larynx (or) pharynx.

“It was like talking like that, and you cannot go high or lower.”

She added the stiffness can also sometimes feel like parts of her body are locked into place, saying: “It feels like, if I point my feet, they will stay (there.)

“It’s cramping but it’s like in a position where you cannot unlock them.

“I have broken ribs at one point because sometimes when its very severe, it can break.”



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