Celine Dion has made her first public appearance in three years after being diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome. The singer was in great spirits as she attended the Montreal Canadiens game against the reigning NHL champion Las Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday, October 31.
The “Because You Loved Me” songstress, 55, visited the team from her native Quebec in their locker room and posed for photos with players and other members of the organization. The squad posted highlights to Instagram, as she was joined by sons René-Charles Angélil, 22, and twins Nelson and Eddy, 13, whom she shares with late husband René Angélil.
“When Quebec emblems meet in Las Vegas…,” the caption of the video read, and Celine was seen greeting the players and asking them, “How are you? Nice to meet you,” while telling other members of the squad, “Just stay healthy, strong. Do what you do best.”
Celine appeared vibrant and energetic as she posed for photos and mingled with the players. The Grammy winner wore a stylish knit tan sweater and pants set with a heavy white down vest over it to keep her warm against the chill of Vegas’ T-Mobile arena.
The performer became known as the queen of Las Vegas after spending 15 years in the city performing in residencies beginning in 2003. Celine was forced to temporarily retire after she announced her diagnosis with Stiff Person Syndrome on December 8, 2022.
In an emotional Instagram video, she told fans, “I’ve been dealing with problems with my health for a long time, and it’s been really difficult for me to face these challenges and to talk about everything that I’ve been going through.”
She continued, “Recently, I’ve been diagnosed with a very rare neurological disorder called Stiff Person Syndrome, which affects something like one in a million people,” adding, “While we’re still learning about this rare condition, we now know that this is what has been causing all of the spasms that I’ve been having.”
Celine explained that the spasms she was experiencing affected “every aspect” of her daily life. The disorder had been “causing difficulties when I walk and not allowing me to use my vocal cords to sing the way I’m used to.”
Stiff Person Syndrome is a neurological disease with symptoms that include “muscle spasms, hyper-rigidity, debilitating pain and chronic anxiety,” according to the Stiff Person Syndrome Research Foundation’s official website.
Celine planned on a 2023 comeback tour but was forced to pull out after she wasn’t healthy enough to handle the grueling schedule. “It is with tremendous disappointment that we have to announce today the cancellation of the Courage World Tour,” she wrote in a May 26 Instagram post.
“I’m so sorry to disappoint all of you once again. I’m working really hard to build back my strength, but touring can be very difficult even when you’re 100 percent. It’s not fair to you to keep postponing the shows, and even though it breaks my heart, it’s best that we cancel everything now until I’m really ready to be back on stage again. I want you all to know, I’m not giving up … and I can’t wait to see you again!” she added.
In August, her sister, Claudette, gave an update on the superstar’s health, revealing, “We can’t find any medicine that works,” she told Le Journal de Montréal, “but having hope is important.”