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Source: Mega

Celine Dion Reveals Why She Kept Stiff-Person Syndrome Diagnosis Private for So Long: 'I Had to Try to Be a Hero'

Jun. 13 2024, Published 9:00 a.m. ET

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Celine Dion is getting candid about her decision to tell the world about her personal battle.

The music legend, 56, opened up to Hoda Kotb during an interview with Today about why she finally announced her stiff-person syndrome diagnosis in 2022 after experiencing symptoms of the disease since 2008.

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celinedionwhyshekeptstiffpersonsydrome
Source: Mega

Celine Dion got candid about her decision to tell the world about her personal battle.

"What did you want me to say? ‘I have…' what?" she told the journalist, 59. "We did not know what was going on. I did not take the time I should have stopped, take the time to figure it out."

Dion revealed the first signs of her disorder came as her late spouse, René Angélil, was struggling with throat cancer. "My husband as well was fighting for his own life," the chart-topper revealed of her partner, who died in 2016. "I had to raise my kids, I had to hide. I had to try to be a hero."

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celinedionwhyshekeptstiffpersonsydrome
Source: Mega

Celine Dion first started feeling symptoms of stiff-person syndrome in 2008.

While grappling with the tragedy of Angélil, Dion also worried about confronting her own health issues. However, the weight of keeping the secret from her fans became overwhelming. "Feeling my body leaving me, holding on to my own dreams," she said. "I could not do this anymore. 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."

When Kotb asked the "Taking Chances" vocalist about her experience with the syndrome, she noted, "It's like somebody is strangling you. It’s like somebody is pushing your larynx/pharynx. It was like talking like that, and you cannot go high or lower."

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celinedionwhyshekeptstiffpersonsyndrome
Source: Mega

Celine Dion revealed her health battle in December 2022.

"It feels like, if I point my feet, they will stay in [that position]," Dion explained. "It’s cramping but it’s like in a position where you cannot unlock them. I have broken ribs at one point because sometimes when its very severe, it can break."

In 2023, the "My Heart Will Go On" artist stopped touring as she vowed to focus on taking care of herself. "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 percent," she penned in the heartbreaking message.

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celinedionwhyshekeptstiffpersonsydrome
Source: Mega

Celine Dion canceled her world tour in 2023.

"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!" she concluded in the letter.

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