Celine Dion's sister Claudette has provided an update about the musician's ongoing struggle with stiff-person syndrome. The rare neurological autoimmune disorder has caused the pop star to lose control of her muscles.
The singer shared the diagnosis in an Instagram post in June following months of mysterious symptoms.
"She's working hard, but she doesn't have control over her muscles," Claudette told 7 Jours, a French-language outlet in the Dion family's native Quebec.
"What breaks my heart is that she's always been disciplined. She's always worked hard," Claudette added in a translated statement obtained by OK! Magazine. "Our mother always told her, 'You're going to do it well, you're going to do it properly.'"
She also said that Celine hopes to play another concert again some day, but isn't sure if that's realistic. "It's true that in both our dreams and hers, the goal is to return to the stage," Claudette said. "In what capacity? I don't know."
Celine's condition is extremely rare. "Because it's [a] one out of a million case, the scientists haven't done that much research because it didn't affect that many people," Claudette said.
The singer's fans are concerned, which led many to reach out to the family's charity Foundation Maman Dion.
"If only you knew the number of phone calls the Foundation gets about Celine!" Claudette said. "People tell us they love her and they're praying for her. She gets so many messages, presents and blessed crucifixes."
The singer's health struggles forced her to cancel her world tour that was supposed to begin this past summer and end in the spring of 2024.
"I’m so sorry to disappoint all of you once again," she said in a statement posted to Instagram. "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. I want you all to know, I’m not giving up… and I can’t wait to see you again!"
Most of the comments below the post were supportive. "We love you Celine, take good care of yourself," one fan said. "Your health is the most important and precious thing… We are praying for your healing."
Celine and Claudette were two of 14 children born to a Roman Catholic family in Charlemagne, a suburb about 15 miles from Montreal. The singer went on to become one of the most iconic Canadian musicians of all time. This is a particularly notable feat given Celine's francophone background. Many artists from Quebec have struggled to break into mainstream English-speaking markets due to the language barrier.
This month, Celine is celebrating the 25th anniversary of her Christmas album These Are Special Times. The release made it to the No. 1 spot on the Canadian Albums Chart and the No. 2 spot on the US Billboard 200.