Celine Dion Says Singing With Stiff Person Syndrome Feels Like Being Strangled

Celine Dion has been battling Stiff Person Syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder, for years.

Celine Dion is opening up like never before about her health struggles and battle with Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS)

The 56-year-old music icon was diagnosed with the rare autoimmune disorder in 2022 and was forced to cancel her Courage World Tour. 

In a new sneak peek clip from her upcoming interview with the Today show's Hoda Kotb, Dion speaks out about the affect the condition has had on her vocal cords. 

"It's like somebody's strangling you. It's like somebody's pushing your larynx this way," Dion says, demonstrating the pressure on her throat. 

Celine Dion talks about her battle with Stiff Person Syndrome with Hoda Kotb. - Today/YouTube

The "My Heart Will Go On" singer says that the condition causes parts of her body to spasm, and it has previously been so intense that it has caused her to break a rib. 

"It can be in the abdominal. It can be in the spine, in the ribs. But it feels like if I point my feet, it will stay in it," Dion explains. "Or if I cook, my fingers or my hands will get in position. It's cramping, but it's like you're in the position of you cannot unlock them." 

Kotb explains to her Today co-anchors that the disease is "chronic and progressive" but adds that there are medicines to help manage it. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, Stiff Person Syndrome is "a rare disorder of motor function characterized by involuntary stiffness of axial muscles and superimposed painful muscle spasms, which are often induced by startle or emotional stimuli."

Dion documented her health journey for the new Prime Video docuseries, I Am: Celine Dion. Last month, the first trailer for the docuseries was released, documenting her impressive career and recent struggles. 

"It's not hard to do a show, you know? It's hard to cancel a show," Dion says in the trailer. "I'm working hard every day but I have to admit, it's been a struggle. I miss it so much, the people, I miss them. If I can't run, I'll walk. If I can't walk, I'll crawl. But I won't stop." 

Dion's full interview with Kotb for NBC Nightly News airs Tuesday, June 11 at 10 p.m. PT/ET.

I Am: Celine Dion debuts June 25 on Prime Video.