"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. It hurts me to tell you that I won't be ready to restart my tour in Europe in February," she wrote in the caption to her emotional post on Instagram on Thursday.
The five-time Grammy winner held back tears as she recorded her video on the topic.
"Recently, I've been diagnosed with a very rare neurological condition called Stiff Person Syndrome, which affects something like one in a million people,” she opened. “While we're still learning about this rare condition, we now know that this is what has been causing all of the spasms that I've been having. Unfortunately, these spasms affect every aspect of my daily life, sometimes causing difficulties when I walk and not allowing me to use my vocal cords to sing the way I'm used to."
Stiff person syndrome, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, is characterized by fluctuating muscle rigidity as well as a heightened sensitivity to stimuli such as noise, touch, and emotional distress. These sensitivities can set off muscle spasms. Those diagnosed with the disorder may not be able to walk or move — or may become fearful of going out into the world, where stimuli can lead to spasms. The disorder, which affects twice as many women as men, does not have a known cause or a cure.
"I have a great team of doctors working along side me to help me get better. And my precious children, who are supporting me and giving me hope,” she continued. “I'm working hard with my sports medicine therapist every day to build back my strength and my ability to perform again. But I have to admit, it's been a struggle."
Dion has three boys, René-Charles, 21, and 11-year-old twins Nelson and Eddy, who she shared with her late husband, music producer René Angélil, who died in 2016.
“All I know is that singing is what I’ve done all my life. And it’s what I love to do the most,” she said tearfully. "I miss you so much. I miss seeing all of you. Being on the stage. Performing for you. I always give 100 percent when I do my shows, but my condition is not allowing me to give you that right now."
She has rescheduled her spring shows to 2024 and canceled eight of her summer shows altogether. Her last three years of touring have been affected multiple times, first because of the pandemic and then more recently for health problems, which she is now openly explaining for the first time.
"For me to reach you again, I have no choice but to concentrate on my health at this moment,” she concluded. And I have hope that I'm on the road to recovery. This is my focus and I'm doing everything I can to recuperate. I want to thank you so much for your encouraging wishes of love and support on my social media. This means a lot to me."
The French-Canadian singer also posted the message in French to reach more of her fans.
"Take care of yourselves. Be well. I love you guys so much and I really hope I can see you again real soon," she finished. "Thank you."
You can head to her website for a complete list of affected tour dates.