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Celine Dion Tells Hoda Kotb She ‘Will’ Return to the Stage Amid Stiff-Person Syndrome Battle

Celine Dion Reveals TK About Stiff-Person Syndrome in Interview With Hoda Kotb
Celine Dion, Hoda Kotb.Getty Images(2)

Céline Dion isn’t letting her stiff-person syndrome diagnosis put an end to her legendary career.

“What did this disease take away from you?” Hoda Kotb asked the singer in a new Today preview of their upcoming sit-down interview on Tuesday, June 11. Dion, 56, replied, “It didn’t take anything away from me. I’m going to go back on stage, even if I have to crawl. Even if I have to talk with my hands, I will. I will.”

She added: “I am Céline Dion, because today my voice will be heard for the first time, not just because I have to, or because I need to. It’s because I want to and I miss it.”

In a preview that aired earlier this week, the “My Heart Will Go On” singer shared what inspired her to come forward with her stiff-person syndrome diagnosis after suffering in silence for several years.

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“I could not do this anymore,” Dion said to Kotb, 59, in the excerpt. “What do you want me to say? … We did not know what was going on.”

Dion, who announced she had been diagnosed with the rare neurological disorder in December 2022, said that she “did not take the time” to accept her health condition because her husband was also “fighting for his own life.” (Her husband and longtime manager, Rene Angélil, died in January 2016 at age 73 following a long battle with cancer. The twosome shared sons René-Charles, 23, and Nelson and Eddy, both 13.)

“I had to raise my kids. I had to hide. I had to try to be a hero. Feeling my body leaving me, holding onto my own dreams,” she explained. “Lying, for me, the burden was too much. Lying to the people who got me where I am today. I could not do it anymore.”

Celine Dion Reveals TK About Stiff-Person Syndrome in Interview With Hoda Kotb
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

In another teaser from the pair’s talk, Dion shocked Kotb with the revelation that her stiff-person syndrome spasms caused a painful injury. “I had broken ribs at one point, because sometimes when it’s very severe, it can break some ribs as well,” she stated.

She also compared singing with her condition to feeling like “somebody strangling you,” explaining that her spasms can also happen “in the abdominal, can be in the spine [and] can be in the ribs.”

In December 2022, Dion took to social media to reveal she was diagnosed with stiff-person syndrome several years prior – and canceled her Courage World Tour due to her disease.

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“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,” she shared in an Instagram video at the time, adding that the disease “affects one in a million people” and that it “affect[s] every aspect of [her] daily life.”

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Despite battling her illness, a source exclusively told Us Weekly in December 2023 that Dion is a “fighter” who is “working with doctors and physical therapists to get better.”

“Céline has been taking time to focus on her health,” the insider explained, but plans to take the stage again once she is given the go-ahead by her medical team.”

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Dion has still managed to make a few rare public appearances, including presenting at the 2024 Grammy Awards.

“When I say, I’m happy to be here, I really mean it. From my heart,” she said on stage where she presented the Album of the Year award. “Those who have been blessed enough to be here at the Grammy Awards must never take for granted the tremendous love and joy that music brings to our lives and people around the world.”

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