Celine Dion's sister gives an update on the singer's stiff-person syndrome battle and says hope 'is important'


Photo: TNS

Celine Dion's (pic) loved ones are rallying for the global superstar as she lives with stiff-person syndrome, a rare neurological disorder.

Months after the My Heart Will Go On singer called off her Courage world tour, her sister Claudette Dion, 74, spoke to Le Journal de Montreal about the Grammy Award-winning artist's time away from the stage. In the July interview, Claudette said the singer is "working hard."

"She listens to the great researchers studying this rare disease as much as possible," Claudette said in her response, which has been translated from French to English.

In December 2022, Celine Dion, 55, postponed several European tour dates and spring 2023 concerts after she was diagnosed with stiff-person syndrome. She shared the news with fans on social media in a video statement in French and English.

The Mayo Clinic defines stiff-person syndrome as an autoimmune disorder of the nervous system that often results in "progressive, severe muscle stiffness and spasms of the lower extremities and back."

"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," Dion wrote in an Instagram announcement. "I want you all to know, I'm not giving up ... and I can't wait to see you again!"

Claudette also told the Journal her sister "needs rest."

"She always goes above all, she always tries to be the greatest, the strongest," she said. "There's a time when your little heart and your little body speak to you. It's important [to listen]."

When she announced her diagnosis, Celine Dion said stiff-person syndrome "affects something like one in a million people." Despite the statistics, her loved ones are keeping a positive mind-set. Claudette said her sister has it in her to fight the disorder, adding, "She is disciplined in everything she does in her life."

Claudette said, "We can't find medicine, but giving hope, I find that is important." - Los Angeles Times/Tribune News Service

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