Celine Dion has cancelled all her remaining live shows, telling fans she is not strong enough to tour after being diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder.
The singer revealed last year she was suffering from Stiff-Person Syndrome (SPS), which was affecting her singing. Dion has now cancelled all the shows she had scheduled for 2023 and 2024.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the 55-year-old told fans: “I’m so sorry to disappoint all of you once again.
“Even though it breaks my heart, it’s best that we cancel everything until I’m really ready to be back on stage.”
She added: “I’m not giving up… and I can’t wait to see you again!”
In December 2022, the French Canadian singer posted an emotional video on Instagram to say she had been diagnosed with SPS and would not be ready to start a European tour in February as planned.
She said the disorder was causing muscle spasms and was “not allowing me to use my vocal cords to sing the way I’m used to”. The Courage World Tour began in 2019, and Dion completed 52 shows before the Covid-19 pandemic put the remainder on hold.
She later cancelled the North American dates due to health problems, and delayed the European leg of the tour. On Friday, those delayed European performances were cancelled altogether, including dates in London, Dublin, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Stockholm and Zurich.
A statement released by her tour said the shows were being cancelled with “a sense of tremendous disappointment”.
“I’m working really hard to build back my strength, but touring can be very difficult even when you’re 100%,” the statement quoted Dion as saying.
The tour was to have been Dion’s first global concert tour in a decade and the first without her husband-manager Rene Angelil, who died from cancer in 2016. Dion is best known for hits including My Heart Will Go On, Because You Loved Me, All By Myself and It’s All Coming Back To Me Now.
What is Stiff Person Syndrome and is there a cure?
SPS is a rare condition and not well understood. According to the National Institute for Neurological Disorders, it is characterised by fluctuating muscle rigidity in the trunk and limbs and a heightened sensitivity to stimuli such as noise, touch, and emotional distress, which can set off muscle spasms.
Abnormal postures, often hunched over and stiffened, are characteristic of the disorder, the institute says. People with SPS can be too disabled to walk or move, or they are afraid to leave the house because street noises, such as the sound of a horn, can trigger spasms and falls.
Most individuals with SPS have frequent falls and because they lack the normal defensive reflexes; injuries can be severe. While there is no cure for SPS, there are treatments – including anti-anxiety medicines and muscle relaxants – which can slow down its progression.