Celine Dion’s health status has been making headlines since the singer revealed earlier in 2023 that she has a serious condition that’s preventing her from taking the stage.
In May 2023, the 55-year-old pop legend announced that she was canceling the remaining dates on her Courage World Tour, including those in 2024, writing that the scheduling change came with a sense of “tremendous disappointment.” Just five months prior, Dion had revealed that she’d been diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called stiff person syndrome, which can lead to stiffness in the body, as well as spasms.
Dion choosing to share her diagnosis isn’t the first time the star has spoken publicly about her health — or rumors of health struggles. She’s been open about her decision to use in vitro fertilization to conceive her three children, and she’s addressed eating disorder rumors.
Here’s what to know about Celine Dion’s health in recent years.
How is Celine Dion doing in 2023?
Dion last opened up about her health status in May 2023. At the time that she announced that she was canceling the rest of her tour, she also shared about her efforts to manage her stiff person syndrome, especially when it comes to performing.
On her website, Dion wrote that she’s “working really hard to build back (her) strength,” adding that touring can be very challenging even for people in peak health. But, she stressed that she’s “not giving up” and is determined to return to the stage at some point. “I can’t wait to see you again!” she told fans in her message.
Prior to her stiff person syndrome diagnosis, Céline’s last major projects were the earlier dates in her Courage World Tour — she completed 52 performances in North America — and filming her first movie in 2021. She starred as herself in “Love Again” alongside Priyanka Chopra and Sam Heughan. Dion also recorded several songs for the film’s soundtrack, including the ballad “Love Again.”
Will Celine Dion be able to perform again?
It isn’t clear whether Dion will be able to perform again. The May 2023 tour cancelation announcement explained that her symptoms of stiff person syndrome, namely “severe and persistent muscle spasms,” have prevented her from performing.
That said, the singer and her team have both said that they expect her to be able to perform again at some point. For example, in May, Dion stressed that she was trying to regain her strength with the goal of hitting the stage. At the time, her team also said they “have every hope that someday soon” she’ll be able to tour in Europe.
While every person’s situation is different, some people are able to manage the symptoms of stiff person syndrome, Dr. Desimir Mijatovic, a pain medicine specialist with the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, told TODAY.com in 2022.
“A lot of people are able to make recovery to the point that their condition is stable. They’re not worsening anymore. They can continue to live fairly mobile (lives),” he said.
Mijatovic is not involved in Dion’s care, but he said it is not outside the realm of possibility that Dion could perform once more.
“People like Celine are oftentimes able to overcome a lot of amazing things, and I definitely think it’s something that’s possible,” he said.
Celine Dion shared she has stiff person syndrome in 2022
Dion revealed in December 2022 that she’d been diagnosed with stiff person syndrome and would be postponing tour dates due to the condition. In May 2023, she canceled her remaining tour and shared that she was still being treated for the disorder. Her health problems had previously forced her to announce tour date cancelations in January 2022 and April 2022.
Stiff person syndrome is a rare neurological disorder. Symptoms of the progressive condition may include stiff muscles in the torso, arms and legs, as well as muscle spasms that may be triggered by noises, touch or emotional distress, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
The condition can have a severe effect on quality of life. People with stiff person syndrome may develop hunched postures and may struggle to walk or move. People may also fall more frequently because they lack the muscle reflexes to catch themselves, which can lead to injury.
Dion opened up about her stiff person syndrome diagnosis in a video posted on her Instagram page in December 2022.
“We now know this is what’s been causing all of the spasms that I’ve been having,” she said. “Unfortunately, these spasms affect every aspect of my daily life, sometimes causing difficulties when I walk and not allowing me to use my vocal cords to sing the way I’m used to.”
She added that she was working with a sports medicine therapist to rebuild her strength, but admitted it had been “a struggle.”
There is no cure for stiff person syndrome, although symptoms may be kept under control with certain drugs, as well as physical, occupational and aqua therapy, according to Yale Medicine.
She had to cancel performances for ear surgery
In 2018, Dion had to cancel nearly a month of shows at her Las Vegas residency to undergo ear surgery.
The singer was dealing with a condition called Patulous Eustachian tube dysfunction, which occurs when the tube that connects the middle ear to the sinus cavity remains open, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
The condition was causing Dion to have “hearing irregularities and making it “extremely difficult to sing,” her team explained in a Facebook statement at the time.
Dion’s team said the singer planned to undergo minimally invasive surgery to correct the problem.
“My luck hasn’t been very good lately... I’ve been so looking forward to doing my shows again and this happens…. I just can’t believe it!” Dion said in a message to fans on Facebook.
She had fertility challenges and did IVF
She also opened up about her fertility issues as she and Angélil tried for a second baby.
“We didn’t want to feel like we were playing yo-yo. ‘I’m pregnant. I’m not pregnant. I’m pregnant. I’m not pregnant,’” Dion told Oprah Winfrey in 2010. “So, we didn’t want to do this thing. But we did (have) a miscarriage. We tried four times to have a child. We’re still trying. We’re on the fifth try. And I tell you, if five is my lucky number, this fifth try has got to come in.”
In the end, the singer underwent six rounds of IVF.
“These treatments were truly hard on my wife’s body,” Angélil told the French-language Le Journal de Montreal, as translated by People. “It wasn’t simple at all.”
Dion’s fertility treatments were eventually successful and in October 2010, she gave birth to twin boys, Nelson and Eddy.
She has addressed speculation about her weight
Dion has long pushed back against speculation that she has an eating disorder.
“I don’t have an eating problem, and there’s nothing more I can say about it,” she told People in 1999.
“I’m very thin,” she added. “I don’t even train. I’m lucky.”
She also asked people to stop commenting on her weight in a 2019 People interview, addressing online speculation about her physique.
“If I like it, I don’t want to talk about it. Don’t bother. Don’t take a picture,” she said. “If you like it, I’ll be there. If you don’t, leave me alone.”
She addressed rumors about her appearance in another People interview earlier that year, saying she had lost some weight due to her intensive ballet practice routine.
“I do this four times a week,” Dion said. “People say, ‘She’s a lot thinner,’ but I’m working hard. I like to move, and (weight loss) comes with it.”