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Celine Dion’s sister on the singer’s health condition: 'There's little we can do to alleviate her pain'

By Yoniel Acebuche Published Sep 03, 2023 12:56 pm

Celine Dion's sister, Claudette, praised the Canadian singer’s strength amid her battle with a rare health condition called Stiff Person Syndrome.

In an interview with Hello! Canada, Claudette, who has been Celine’s spokesperson in recent months, told the media outlet that the My Heart Will Go On singer promised to "work hard" to regain her strength.

"She's doing everything to recover," she said. "She's a strong woman."

Claudette opened up about how her sibling suffered from the debilitating pain caused by the rare disorder, which has kept her from performing in shows since last year.

"It's an illness we know so little about," she said. "There are spasms, they're impossible to control. You know who people often jump up in the night because of a cramp in the leg or the calf? It's a bit like that, but in all muscles." 

"There's little we can do to support her, to alleviate her pain," she continued, expressing her hope that researchers would finally find a remedy for the illness. 

Celine opened up about her condition to the public through a tearful video in December 2022, saying it made her decide to cancel her shows scheduled from 2023 to 2024.

“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,” she said.

Stiff-person syndrome is “a rare, progressive syndrome that affects the nervous system, specifically the brain and spinal cord,” according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. It causes muscle stiffness as well as spasms, normally between the ages of 30 and 60. The symptoms can remain stable in some cases, but could get progressively worse in others.

The US National Institutes of Health also noted that it affects twice as many women as men. If left untreated, SPS can potentially lead to difficulty walking and significantly impact a person's ability to perform routine daily tasks.