Celine Dion made a surprise appearance at the Grammys 2024, presenting Taylor Swift with the Album of the Year award.
Dion, who has made few public appearances since revealing her diagnosis with stiff-person syndrome in 2022, stepped onto the stage for this special moment.
In November, Dion, aged 55, was spotted at an NHL game with her three sons, as reported by Entertainment Tonight. However, in a December interview, her sister Claudette Dion shed light on the condition, explaining that Dion lacks control over her muscles.
Stiff-person syndrome, also known as Moersch-Woltman syndrome, is described as a “rare neurological disorder with characteristics of an autoimmune disease, resulting in rigidity and increased sensitivity to noise, touch, and emotional distress,” as stated by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Patients may experience postures that are “hunched over and stiffened.”
Yale Medicine notes that there is currently no cure for stiff-person syndrome. Treatment typically involves therapies and medications such as sedatives, muscle relaxants, and steroids.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, some physicians prescribe immune-based therapies in the treatment of stiff-person syndrome, believing they might impede its progression. These therapies can involve intravenous medications and plasma exchanges.
In certain instances, the condition may lead to increased disability levels, necessitating assistance with walking and potentially requiring the use of a wheelchair.
During the Grammys, Dion did not require a walking aid such as a cane to approach the microphone, but her 23-year-old son, Rene Charles, accompanied her. She expressed genuine happiness about being present, stating, “When I say that I’m happy to be here, I really mean it from my heart.”
Due to her battle with the condition, Dion chose to postpone and ultimately cancel her world tour in 2023.
According to her sister, the hope is for Dion to make a comeback to the stage, although it remains uncertain. Claudette Dion explained that vocal cords are muscles, just like the heart, which adds to the emotional weight of the situation. She also highlighted the rarity of the condition, noting the limited research available due to its low prevalence.
Taylor Swift’s Grammy win for her album “Midnights” marked her fourth victory in the album of the year category, setting a record for any artist. Despite some social media speculation suggesting a snub towards Dion when Swift hurried onto the stage and hugged other collaborators before accepting the award from Dion, the two artists did share a photo together, smiling and embracing backstage following Swift’s acceptance speech.