‘It’s like somebody is strangling you’

Celine Dion told NBC’s Hoda Kotb that trying to sing while having stiff-person syndrome is “like somebody is strangling you.”

In an exclusive interview, which was previewed on “TODAY,” Dion shared how the condition is affecting her life — and her singing career.

She said when she tries to sing, it feels like someone is pushing on her larynx and pharynx and that when she tries to make her voice higher or lower, she spasms.

Tune in to the full primetime special at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT Tuesday.

The spasms, which can occur all over her body, she said, can be so intense they can break ribs, and have.

Dion first revealed her diagnosis in December 2022 in an emotional video posted to Instagram.

It started in her throat, Dion told Kotb in her first television interview since her diagnosis, but added that it can also show up in the abdomen, spine and ribs.

She said when she tries to point her feet, or puts her hands into a certain position when she is cooking, they not only cramp up, but they also get into “a position of, like, you cannot unlock them.”

Roughly one-to-two people out of every million have stiff-person syndrome. They often experience rigidity in their torso and limbs, as well as severe muscle spasms that can cause them to fall. The spasms can occur at random or be triggered by certain stimuli, including loud noises, touch and emotional distress.

Dion canceled her European tour in 2023, citing health issues, and said at the time she was working to regain her strength. In February, she was met with a standing ovation when she made a surprise appearance at the Grammys to present the album of the year award.

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