Months after she announced she was suffering from a rare neurological condition known as Stiff Person Syndrome, Celine Dion has announced she is cancelling all remaining dates on her Courage World Tour.
“I’m so sorry to disappoint all of you once again,” the 55-year-old singer wrote in an Instagram message. “I’m working really hard to build back my strength, but touring can be very difficult even when you’re 100%. It’s not fair to you to keep postponing the shows, and even though it breaks my heart, it’s best that we cancel everything now until I’m really ready to be back on stage again.”
The My Heart Will Go On singer added that she is hopeful she will be able to hit the road again soon and that her team of medical specialists is monitoring her closely to evaluate and treat the condition.
Dion’s announcement comes after she revealed in December 2022 that she was dealing with Stiff Person Syndrome, a rare condition that causes severe and persistent muscle spasms.
Symptoms of the affliction mimic the characteristics of other ailments such as Parkinson’s Disease or Multiple Sclerosis. The muscle spasms associated with SPS sometimes appear out of the blue and can be triggered by loud noise or emotional distress, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
The muscle spasms can be severe enough to affect mobility and cause a patient to fall. As it progresses, the disease makes if more difficult to walk and falls can become more frequent.
The incurable disease affects approximately one in a million people and can be triggered by loud noises, physical touch, changes in temperature or stressful events. Due to its unpredictable triggers, some sufferers develop anxiety or agoraphobia.
The muscle spasms can become “so violent they can dislocate joints and even break bones,” according to the Stiff Person Syndrome Foundation.
Texas neurologist Alexandra Muranova says the condition “has an insidious onset with gradual worsening over time and, if left untreated, can lead to permanent disability and mortality.”
“I’ve been dealing with problems with my health for a long time, and it’s been really difficult for me to face these challenges and to talk about everything that I’ve been going through,” Dion said when she revealed her diagnosis in a tearful Instagram video last December.
“Recently, I’ve been diagnosed with a very rare neurological condition called Stiff Person Syndrome, which affects something like one in a million people. While we’re still learning about this rare condition, we now know that this is what has been causing all of the spasms that I’ve been having,” the mother of three continued.
“Unfortunately, the spasms affect every aspect of my daily life,” Dion said. “Sometimes causing difficulties when I walk and not allowing me to use my vocal chords to sing the way I’m used to.”
Dion had completed the first 52 dates of the Courage World Tour in North America before the pandemic emerged and paused the trek in March 2020.
According to Friday’s announcement, Dion’s 42 remaining dates, which was scheduled to resume in Amsterdam in August and conclude with a two-night stand at London’s O2 arena next April, will be cancelled and all tickets refunded.
But Dion is optimistic she will be able to return to the stage in the near future.
“I want you all to know, I’m not giving up,” Dion concluded her message to fans, “and I can’t wait to see you again!”