‘I’m working hard to build back my strength’: Celine Dion CANCELS her World Tour after battling incurable neurological disorder – as sympathetic fans say her ‘health is the only thing that matters’
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Celine Dion has cancelled her Courage world tour as she continues to battle with a neurological disorder.
The singer, 55, had previously postponed her planned shows after publicly sharing in December she’d been diagnosed with the disorder known as Stiff Person Syndrome.
Celine took to Instagram on Friday to announced that with ‘tremendous disappointment’ she was unable to perform on her world tour, adding she’s ‘working really hard to build back her strength.’
Posting an image of her cancelled tour dates, she said: ‘It is with tremendous disappointment that we have to announce today the cancellation of the Courage World Tour.
‘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%.
It’s off: Celine Dion has cancelled her world tour as she continues to battle with a neurological disorder known as Stiff Person Syndrome
Sad news: The singer announced the tour’s cancellation with ‘tremendous disappointment,’ but added she’s ‘working really hard to build back her strength’
‘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.
‘I want you all to know, I’m not giving up… and I can’t wait to see you again!’
Celine also shared an image of the full list of tour dates that had been cancelled, including shows in France, Belgium, Denmark, Poland and the UK, and a statement announcing the news.
The statement added: ‘We do have every hope that someday soon, Celine will be ablet to come to all of these cities in Europe to perform for her amazing fans, but that time simply is not now.’
After Celine posted the sad news, she was flooded with messages of support from her fans, who urged her to take all the time she needed for the sake of her health.
One wrote: ‘We love you Celine, take good care of yourself, your health is the most important and precious thing. We are praying for your healing.’
Another added: ‘We miss you! We keep our faith in your recovery,’ while a third posted: ‘We just need you to take good care of yourself. Your health is the only thing that matters.’
One added: ‘You have never disappointed us. You had worked so many years to give us great moments and beautiful songs! Is just a matter of time to see you back on stage, and we’re waiting for that with all the patience you need to get well… praying for your recovering!’
Sweet: After Celine posted the sad news, she was flooded with messages of support from her fans, who urged her to take all the time she needed for the sake of her health
Hard times: In December, the Because You Loved Me singer revealed that she was diagnosed with the rare neurological disorder called stiff person syndrome
In December, the Because You Loved Me singer revealed that she was diagnosed with the rare neurological disorder called stiff person syndrome.
The condition, which affects one in a million people and w causes her muscles to tense uncontrollably ultimately leaves sufferers as ‘human statues’ as it progressively locks the body into rigid positions, leaving sufferers unable to walk or talk.
While there is no cure for SPS, there are treatments that slow down the progression and Celine revealed she is doing all she can to minimise symptoms.
The Power of Love singer addressed her fans in a tearful Instagram post on December 8, adding that it was forcing her to postpone her European tour.
‘Hello everyone, I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to reach out to you. I miss you all so much and can’t wait to be on stage talking to you in person,’ she wrote.
‘As you know, I’ve always been an open book and I wasn’t ready to say anything before but I’m ready now.
‘I’ve been dealing with problems with my health for a long time, and it has been really difficult for me to face my challenges and to talk about everything that I’ve been going through.
‘Recently, I’ve been diagnosed with a very rare neurological disorder called the stiff person syndrome, which affects one in a million people.
‘While we’re still learning about this rare condition, we now know this is what’s been causing all the spasms I’ve been having.’
Detailing the impact the condition has had on her, Celine continued: ‘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.
‘It hurts me to tell you today that this means I won’t be ready to restart my tour in Europe in February.
‘I have a great team of doctors working alongside me to help me get better and my precious children who are supporting me and giving me help.
‘I’m working hard with my sports medicine therapist every day to build back my strength and my ability to perform again but I have to admit it’s been a struggle.
‘All I know is singing it’s what I’ve done all my life and it’s what I love to do the most.
‘I miss you so much. I miss seeing all of you being on the stage performing for you.
‘I always give 100 percent when I do my show but my condition is now allowing me to give you that right now.
‘For me to reach you again, I have no choice but to concentrate on my health at this moment, and I have hope that I’m on the road to recovery.
‘This is my focus, and I’m doing everything I can to recuperate.
‘I want to thank you so much for your wishes and love and support on my social media. This means a lot to me.
‘Take care of yourselves. Be well. I love you guys so much and I really hope I can see you again real soon.’
The mother-of-three first hinted at her health woes in January 2022 when she canceled the North American dates of her Courage world tour.
The announcement came three months after she had to cancel the start of her Las Vegas comeback residency over the same health issue.
Celine has become known as ‘Queen Of Las Vegas’ because of her enormously successful residencies there.
Moving: The mother-of-three first hinted at her health woes in January 2022 when she canceled the North American dates of her Courage world tour
After retiring from her famous Caesars Palace residency in 2019, she was coaxed back to Sin City to perform at the new Resorts World on the Strip.
A statement on her website said that Celine ‘recently has been treated for severe and persistent muscle spasms which are preventing her from performing, and her recovery is taking longer than she hoped.
‘Her medical team continues to evaluate and treat the condition.’
Celine added: ‘I was really hoping that I’d be good to go by now, but I suppose I just have to be more patient and follow the regimen that my doctors are prescribing.
‘There’s a lot of organizing and preparation that goes into our shows, and so we have to make decisions today which will affect the plans two months down the road. I’ll be so glad to get back to full health, as well as all of us getting past this pandemic, and I can’t wait to be back on stage again.’
‘Meanwhile, I’ve been very touched by all the words of encouragement that everyone’s been sending to me on social media. I feel your love and support and it means the world to me.’
The incurable condition that turns sufferers into ‘human statues’: What is stiff person syndrome?
Stiff person syndrome is an extremely rare disorder that makes the muscles in the torso and limbs alternate between spasming and being rigid.
Estimates suggest it affects only about one or two in a million people – and 330 people in the US are diagnosed each year. Around twice as many women as men are hit with it.
The progressive disease sees patients’ stiffness increase over time and can lead to them needing to use a wheelchair.
There tend to be three types of the syndrome:
- Classical person man syndrome: When rigidity and spasms are around the back and stomach, and occasionally thighs and neck. It can cause back curvature over time.
- Stiff limb syndrome: Spasms especially affect the legs and feet, occasionally causing them to become fixed in place. Hands can also be affected.
- Jerking stiff person syndrome: The rarest, most aggressive form, which includes symptoms from both the others, and also affects the head and eyes.
Experts do not know exactly what is behind the disease, but they believe it may be caused by an autoimmune reaction, when the body attacks its own nerve cells that control muscle movement.
Around 40 per cent of sufferers also have type 1 diabetes, another autoimmune disease. Type 1 diabetes is particularly associated with classical person syndrome.
It is also more common in people with breast, lung, kidney, thyroid or colon cancer, as well as lymphomas, but researchers do not yet know why.
In stiff person syndrome, the immune system attacks a protein that helps make gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which regulates motor neurons — the nerves that control movement.
Low levels of GABA cause the neurons to continuously fire when they are not supposed to, resulting in the spasms and rigidity.
What are its symptoms?
The main symptoms caused by stiff person syndrome are spasms and rigidity of the torso and limbs.
Spasms can be triggered by loud noises, with the condition also causing heightened sensitivity to sound.
Touch and emotional distress can also be felt more intensely as a result of the condition.
The spasms can be so severe they cause people to fall over or lead to difficulty walking and other disability.
Stress and anxiety are also usually higher in those with the condition, particularly because of the unpredictability of spasms.
The lack of GABA — which regulates anxiety — in their system also affects mental health.
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