Celine Dion “sang a few notes” during her first public appearance in three and a half years, it has been revealed.
Last December, the 55-year-old star announced that she had been diagnosed with Moersch-Woltman syndrome, also known as stiff person syndrome, an incurable neurological condition.
Dion last sang in public in 2020, having completed the first 52 dates of her world tour in North America before pausing it in March of that year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Following her diagnosis, she then cancelled the dates for her European tour, which was due to start in February this year, explaining that spasms were affecting “her daily life” and creating issues for her mobility and vocal cords.
However, the singer surprised many last week when she was seen for the first time in over three years attending an ice hockey game between Montreal Canadiens and the Vegas Golden Knights.
At the time, Montreal’s vice-president of hockey communications Chantal Machabée took to her Instagram to share a video of Dion, who appeared in good spirits.
Now, Machabée has revealed that Dion "sang a few notes" as she met with her hometown team alongside her sons René-Charles, and twins Nelson and Eddy.
“It was an incredible moment. She’s an amazing woman,” she told People. “She’s been through a lot, and to see her like this and smiling and being so happy… it’s amazing.
“I know she has good days and not so good days, but this was a very good day, and it was reassuring.”
The Grammy award winner has kept out of the spotlight since announcing she was diagnosed with stiff person syndrome in 2022.
It is an autoimmune and neurological disorder that causes rigidity in the torso and limbs. Symptoms include stiffening in the torso and limbs, along with muscle spasms, which have affected Dion’s ability to sing and perform.
It is known to impact twice as many women as men, and is frequently associated with other autoimmune diseases such as vitiligo, thyroiditis and diabetes.
Scientists aren’t sure what causes the disorder, but research suggests that it might be the result of a faulty autoimmune response in the brain or spinal cord.
In an interview earlier this year, her sister Claudette said Dion is “doing everything to recover. She’s a strong woman," before adding to Hello! Canada: “There are spasms – they’re impossible to control.
“You know how people often jump up in the night because of a cramp in the leg or the calf? It’s a bit like that, but in all muscles. There’s little we can do to support her, to alleviate her pain.”
She also revealed that their sister Linda is living with the star at her Las Vegas home, which was “comforting for us all.
“We’re crossing our fingers that researchers will find a remedy for this awful illness,” she continued. “We love her for the person she is.”