June 20, 2024

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Céline Dion says illness has caused muscle spasms that broke her ribs | Céline Dion

Céline Dion has said she has suffered muscle spasms so strong that her ribs were broken as a result, as she lives with the condition stiff person syndrome.

Speaking in her first TV interview since the diagnosis, to Hoda Kotb on NBC News, Dion said: “I had broken ribs at one point, because sometimes when it’s very severe …” Kotb asks her: “It can spasm so hard it can break a rib?”, with Dion nodding agreement.

Dion also said that when she experiences muscle spasms in her throat, “it’s like somebody is strangling you, like someone is pushing your larynx”, and explained that she can only speak at a certain pitch while experiencing the spasm. “But it can also be in the abdominal [area], in the spine, in the ribs,” she added, describing cramps in her hands: “It’s cramping, but it’s like in a position of, like, you cannot unlock them”.

Dion was diagnosed with the rare and incurable syndrome in 2022, and has had to put live performances on hold. She has previously said it is “causing difficulties when I walk and not allowing me to use my vocal cords to sing the way I’m used to”.

In an interview with Vogue France in April, she said she was undergoing physical and vocal therapy five times a week. She admitted feelings of desperation but also affirmed that she was trying to work towards a singing career again.

“At the beginning I would ask myself: why me? How did this happen? What have I done? Is this my fault?” she said. “Life doesn’t give you any answers. You just have to live it! I have this illness for some unknown reason. The way I see it, I have two choices. Either I train like an athlete and work super hard, or I switch off and it’s over, I stay at home, listen to my songs, stand in front of my mirror and sing to myself. I’ve chosen to work with all my body and soul, from head to toe, with a medical team. I want to be the best I can be. My goal is to see the Eiffel Tower again! … I have this strength within me. I know that nothing is going to stop me.”

A feature-length documentary about her illness, I Am: Celine Dion, will be on Prime Video from 25 June. It is directed by Irene Taylor, who was Oscar-nominated for her 2009 film The Final Inch.

A full version of the NBC interview airs on 11 June.

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