Celine Dion Says Sons Give Her Strength Amid Battle With Rare Condition

By Sarah Tate

June 11, 2024

Photo: Getty Images

When Céline Dion was diagnosed with the rare condition stiff person syndrome, it wasn't just a difficult time for herself because of the life-altering symptoms but because of how it could affect her children.

In a new cover story with People, the powerhouse vocalist opened up about noticing early symptoms of SPS and experiencing health struggles starting in the mid-2000s before they worsened and she was ultimately diagnosed in August 2022, six years after her late husband, René Angélil, passed away from throat cancer. She was particularly worried about how it could affect her three sons — René-Charles, 23, and 13-year-old twins Nelson and Eddy — who she said "already lost a parent," but she told the outlet that on difficult days she finds the strength to battle the condition for her children.

"I barely could walk at one point, and I was missing very much living. My kids started to notice. I was like, 'OK, they already lost a parent. I don't want them to be scared,'" she recalled. "I let them know, 'You lost your dad, [but] mom has a condition and it's different. I'm not going to die. It's something that I'm going to learn to live with."

The "All By Myself" singer publicly revealed in 2022 that she had been diagnosed with stiff person syndrome, a rare autoimmune neurological disorder that can cause severe and painful muscle spasms and stiffness, according to Johns Hopkins Medical. In a recent interview, she said that she decided to share her condition because the "burden" of keeping it hidden was too much to bear.

Dion will share more about her health journey with SPS in the upcoming Prime Video documentary I Am: Celine Dion, which will be available to stream June 25.

Celine Dion
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