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‘There are some who have lost hope’ in Celine Dion’s return, sister says

Updated December 19, 2023 - 12:26 pm

Celine Dion has been battling Stiff Person Syndrome for more than a year.

Dion’s sister and sometimes caregiver says the superstar continues to suffer the symptoms that derailed her stage and recording career.

Last week, Claudette Dion said during an interview with French weekly magazine Télé 7 Jours, “She’s working hard, but she doesn’t have control of her muscles. There are some who have lost hope because it is a disease that is not (very well) known.

“What pains me is that she has always been disciplined. She’s always worked hard. Our mother always told her, ‘You’re going to do it well, you’re going to do it properly.’ ”

Dion remains a resident at Lake Las Vegas. The “My Heart Will Go On” hit-maker sparked optimism about her improvement with back-to-back public appearances in late October and early November. Dion and her family attended the Montreal Canadiens-Golden Knights game at T-Mobile Arena on Halloween.

She next attended the closing of Katy Perry’s “Play” at Resorts World Theatre on Nov. 4.

Dion was readily recognizable and created a hubbub, walking in along with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who were seated in the same VIP section. Cameron Diaz and her husband, Benji Madden of Good Charlotte, were also spotted in video from that section, greeting Dion. Actress Zoe Saldana (“Star Trek,” “Avatar”) was also at the performance.

Dion stayed through full show, dancing throughout as Perry closed her two-year residency.

Stiff Person Syndrome sends spasms through the body without warning. There is no known cure. The condition has prevented Dion from performing her announced residency at Resorts World Theatre. The series was scheduled to open in November 2021.

Officials from AEG Presents, which books the theater, remain optimistic Dion can return to the stage in 2024. Dion’s camp also is holding out hope, despite the long delay.

“It’s true that, in both our dreams and hers, the goal is to return to the stage. In what capacity? I don’t know,” Claudette Dion said. “The vocal cords are muscles, and the heart is also a muscle. This is what comes to get me. Because it is one out of a million case, the scientists haven’t done that much research because it didn’t affect that many people.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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