Celine Dion diagnosed with rare, incurable neurological disorder, stiff-person syndrome
In an emotional and tear-filled statement on Thursday, Céline Dion revealed that she had to cancel her upcoming European tour after learning she had stiff-person syndrome, a very rare neurological disorder.
Her ability to sing and walk has since been affected by the incapacitating illness.
Stiff-person syndrome, also known as Moersch-Woltman syndrome, is a “rare neurological disorder with features of an autoimmune disease,” according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The condition makes the body rigid and more sensitive to noise, touch, and emotional distress. According to the institute, this increased sensitivity can result in muscle spasms as well as “hunched over and stiffened” postures.
According to the Stiff Person Syndrome Research Foundation, the muscle spasms that Dion claimed to have experienced “can be so violent they can dislocate joints and even break bones.”
Dion claimed that the spasms have negatively impacted “every aspect” of her daily life, interfering with everything from her ability to walk to her ability to sing in the manner she is accustomed to.
According to the institute, the disorder affects twice as many women as men and renders many people unable to “walk or move,” adding that many people are “afraid to leave the house” because street noises like the sound of a horn can cause spasms and falls.
There is no cure for the disorder, but treatment can help with the symptoms.