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Stiff-Person Syndrome Singing Like Being Strangled

Stiff-Person Syndrome Singing Like Being Strangled

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Celine Dion has opened up about the chronic impact of her health battle with Stiff-person syndrome on her all-important singing voice.

“It’s like somebody is strangling you” when she tries to sing, Dion told Today co-host Hoda Kotb on Friday in a preview clip from their upcoming primetime interview set to air on NBC on June 11.  

“It’s like someone is pushing your larynx. It is like you are talking like that, and you cannot go high or lower. It gets into a spasm,” Dion said, at one point her voice sounding weak and thin as she illustrated the impact of her life-altering illness and losing control of her muscles.  

Stiff-person syndrome has affected Dion’s abdomen, ribs and spine and has taken a deep toll on the singing sensation, physically and psychologically. The incurable condition results in progressive, severe muscle stiffness.

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“I had broken ribs at one point, because sometimes it’s very severe,” she told Kotb of the cramping in her body. Dion is also the subject of an upcoming Prime Video documentary, I Am: Celine Dion, out June 25, where she chronicles her battle with Stiff-person syndrome, which was first diagnosed in 2022.

In a recent interview with Vogue, Dion revealed she first had an inkling that controlling her voice had become difficult as far back as 2008. But, after her many concert tours and a Las Vegas residency, it took being sidelined by the pandemic in 2020 to allow doctors to finally do the detective work required to accurately identify her illness.

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