Céline Dion opens up about her decision to publicly share stiff-person syndrome diagnosis

Céline Dion has been candid about her health struggles, particularly after her diagnosis with stiff-person syndrome, a rare and incurable autoimmune neurological condition. In 2022, the iconic “My Heart Will Go On” singer shared her diagnosis through an emotional Instagram video, marking a pivotal moment in her journey.

Since sharing her diagnosis, Dion, at 56, has continued to openly discuss her experiences with the disease, emphasizing the importance of transparency about her condition. Initially, in her Instagram announcement, Dion confessed that she had been grappling with health issues for quite some time, admitting it was intensely challenging to confront her struggles and share them publicly.

Stiff-person syndrome affects approximately one in a million people and is characterized by muscle stiffness and spasms, symptoms that can progressively worsen over time.

Dion recently articulated her reasons for going public during an interview on NBC’s TODAY show. She explained the impossibility of continuing to conceal her condition, stating, “What do you want me to say? I have what? We did not know what was going on. I should’ve stopped and taken the time to figure out and taken the time like it’s not enough.”

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 and be a hero, feeling my body leaving me, holding onto my own dreams. And lying, for me, the burden was too much. Lying to people who got me where I am today – I could not do it anymore.”

Her transparency wasn’t just a personal relief but also a beacon of support and awareness for others dealing with similar challenges. Dion revisited her platform earlier this year on International SPS Awareness Day, using her influence to shine a light on the disorder.

She shared on Instagram: “Today the world recognizes International SPS Awareness Day. As many of you know, in the fall of 2022, I was diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS). Trying to overcome this autoimmune disorder has been one of the hardest experiences of my life, but I remain determined to one day get back onto the stage and to live as normal of a life as possible.”

Dion expressed her gratitude for the support from her family, team, and fans, and she sent out a message of encouragement to others affected by SPS, emphasizing, “I want you to know you can do it! We can do it!”

For those seeking support or in crisis, Dion’s message is a reminder that help is available. Contact Mental Health America by calling or texting 988 to reach a 24-hour crisis center, or chat online at 988lifeline.org. The Crisis Text Line is also accessible by texting MHA to 741741.