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Tearful Celine Dion bares stiff person syndrome struggle in documentary trailer

I Am: Celine Dion will be released on 25 June, documenting the star's health struggles over the last couple of years and her early career

By Dale Fox

Composite of Celine Dion sitting in a chair and sitting on a hospital bed crying
I Am: Celine Dion will premiere in June (Image: Amazon Prime Video UK/YouTube)

Celine Dion has opened up about her battle with the rare neurological disorder stiff person syndrome in the trailer for a new Amazon Prime Video documentary, I Am: Celine Dion.

In the emotional trailer released yesterday (23 May), the 56-year-old performer is seen in tears as she discusses her condition. “I’m working hard every day. But I have to admit, it’s been a struggle,” she says. “It’s not hard to do a show, it’s hard to cancel a show. I miss it so much. The people, I miss them.”

She adds defiantly: “If I can’t run, I’ll walk. If I can’t walk, I’ll crawl. I won’t stop.”

Dion publicly revealed her stiff person syndrome diagnosis in December 2022, which has caused difficulties with her walking and singing. As a result, she had to cancel her planned 2023-2024 tour dates.

The documentary trailer features archive clips of Dion’s career interspersed with more recent footage of her going through physiotherapy. Sitting in a chair, she states: “I wasn’t ready to say anything before but I’m ready now.”

“This last couple of years has been such a challenge for me” – Celine Dion

According to Dion’s sister Claudette, the condition has worsened over time, affecting the singer’s spinal cord and brain. Stiff person syndrome is an extremely rare autoimmune neurological disorder that causes muscle stiffness, slurred speech, painful spasms and unsteady walking.

Dion said earlier this year to mark the film’s announcement: “This last couple of years has been such a challenge for me, the journey from discovering my condition to learning how to live with and manage it, but not to let it define me.

“As the road to resuming my performing career continues, I have realised how much I have missed it, of being able to see my fans. During this absence, I decided I wanted to document this part of my life, to try to raise awareness of this little-known condition, to help others who share this diagnosis.”

I Am: Celine Dion release date and synopsis

I Am: Celine Dion – the official synopsis ‘This intimate exploration takes viewers on a journey inside Celine’s past and present as she reveals her battle with Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS) and the lengths she has gone to continue performing for her beloved and loyal fans. From visiting her couture touring wardrobe and personal effects to spending time in the recording studio, the documentary captures a global megastar’s never-before-seen private life. An emotional, energetic, and poetic love letter to music, I Am: Celine Dion captures more than a year of filming as the legendary singer navigates her journey toward living an open and authentic life amidst illness.’

I Am: Celine Dion is set to premiere on 25 June on Amazon Prime Video.

What is Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS)?

Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS) is a rare and debilitating neurological condition that affects the muscles and nervous system. Characterised by severe muscle tightness and spasms, SPS can lead to significant disability and reduced mobility. Symptoms often start in the trunk muscles and can spread to other parts of the body. Treatment involves a combination of medications, physiotherapy, and psychological support to manage symptoms and enhance the quality of life for those affected by this complex and little-understood condition. Source: University College LondonJohn Hopkins Medicine