Celine Dion Cancels Tour Over Neurological Disorder

Singer with stiff person syndrome not ready to return to stage—though 'I'm not giving up'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2022 9:20 AM CST
Updated May 26, 2023 11:23 AM CDT
Celine Dion Reveals Rare Disorder
Singer Celine Dion performs during her first World Tour show called Courage at the Videotron Centre on Sept. 18, 2019, in Quebec City.   (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
UPDATE May 26, 2023 11:23 AM CDT

Celine Dion's rare neurological condition will keep her from touring even longer than expected. The singer canceled the European leg of her Courage World Tour, which was to run from August to April 2024, on Friday, per the Guardian. "All remaining dates currently on sale for 2023 and 2024" are canceled, per her website. "I'm so sorry to disappoint all of you once again. I'm working really hard to build back my strength, but touring can be very difficult even when you're 100%," wrote the 55-year-old who suffers from stiff person syndrome. It "breaks my heart" but "it's best that we cancel everything now until I'm really ready," she wrote, adding, "I'm not giving up." There is no cure for SPS, but symptoms can be alleviated with certain drugs.

Dec 8, 2022 9:20 AM CST

Celine Dion has postponed or canceled all of her 2023 tour dates, with a sobering revelation behind that news. "As you know, I've always been an open book," the 54-year-old singer began in an emotional Instagram video Thursday. "I wasn't ready to say anything before—but I am ready now." Dion then announced that she has stiff person syndrome (SPS), a rare neurological condition that strikes just one in a million people. The progressive autoimmune disease, which affects the spinal cord and brain, starts with a stiffening of a person's trunk muscles, which then spreads to muscles in the legs and other body parts, per the Cleveland Clinic.

Another symptom: painful muscle spasms, which can be triggered by emotional distress, loud noises, and even being touched. USA Today notes that Dion previously canceled her North American tour dates in January due to "severe and persistent muscle spasms." Her Las Vegas residency was also nixed in October of last year for the same reason, after the spasms interfered with rehearsals. Dion said in her Thursday update that the spasms "affect every aspect of my daily life," causing her trouble with walking and using her vocal cords in the way she's "used to." "All I know is singing. It's all I've done all my life," she said tearfully.

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Dion added that she's working with a "great team of doctors" and her sports medicine therapist "to build back my strength and my ability to perform again," and that she has "hope that I'm on the road to recovery." For now, however, those performances are being put on the back burner. Dion noted that, as a result of her diagnosis, the European portion of her Courage World Tour now won't be starting in February. Per her website, all shows from Feb. 24 through April 11 have been rescheduled for next year, while summer shows from May 31 through July 17 have been nixed altogether. The site does note that shows next year from the end of August through the beginning of October remain on the schedule, at least for now. (More Celine Dion stories.)

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