Céline Dion’s battle with stiff-person syndrome is worsening, but her sister, Claudette Dion, says the singer is still fighting.
“She works hard, but she doesn’t have control of her muscles,” Claudette, 75, told Canadian magazine 7 Jours in an interview published on December 12. “What pains me is that she has always been disciplined. She always worked hard. Mom always told her, ‘You’re going to do this right, you’re going to do this right.’”
Claudette, who is a musician herself, noted that in both Céline and her family’s “dream” is to have her “return to the stage” in some way. “In which state? I do not know,” Claudette confessed. “The vocal cords are muscles, and the heart is also a muscle. This is what [gets to] me. Since it’s one case in millions, scientists didn’t do that much research, because it didn’t affect that many people.”
Céline’s sister noted that “there are some who have lost hope because [it] is a disease that is not known.” However, Claudette revealed that the family gets “many calls” from fans wanting to “hear from Céline” and want to wish her well.
“People tell us they love her and pray for her. She receives so many messages, gifts, blessed crucifixes,” Claudette shared.
Céline first discussed her health issues in December 2022, announcing that she had to postpone her upcoming shows due to her battle with stiff-person syndrome.
“I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to reach out to you,” she said in an emotional social media video. “I miss you all so much and I can’t wait to be on stage talking to you in person. As you know, I’ve always been an open book and I wasn’t ready to say anything before, but I’m ready now.”
The “My Heart Will Go On” singer explained, “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.”
Céline revealed that the “very rare neurological disorder” is responsible for the spasms she’d been having. “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,” she added, noting the illness was affecting her vocal cords and other muscles.
A source exclusively told Us Weekly at the time that Céline is leaning on her three sons, René-Charles, 22, and twins Nelson and Eddy, 13, for support. (The singer shared her boys with late husband René Angelil, who died of throat cancer in January 2016 at age 73.)
“Her kids have been her rock … the twins are very mature for their age and René-Charles checks in and dotes on his mom all the time,” the insider said.
Following her health announcement, Céline has stayed out of the public eye except for a handful of outings. In October, she made a rare appearance with her sons at the Vegas Golden Knights hockey game against the Montreal Canadiens.
The family visited with the Canadiens players ahead of the game and Céline was seemingly in good spirits. She offered them a pep talk, telling the athletes, “Just stay healthy, strong … Do what you do best,” according to a social media video posted by the team.