Celine Dion earns standing ovation at Grammy Awards to present album of the year, amid 'human statue' condition

5 February 2024, 05:46 | Updated: 5 February 2024, 13:02

Celine Dion presents the award for album of the year during the 66th annual Grammy Awards.
Celine Dion presents the award for album of the year during the 66th annual Grammy Awards. Picture: Alamy
Jasmine Moody

By Jasmine Moody

Celine Dion made a surprise appearance at the 2024 Grammys on Sunday - amid her battle with incurable stiff-person syndrome

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The star, 55, who has stepped away from the limelight due to her health singing career in light of her health woes, walked onstage with the support of eldest son Rene-Charles Angelil, 23, to cheers and a standing ovation and to present Album of the Year.

The visibly emotional star said: "Thank you, all! I love you right back. You look beautiful. When I say I'm happy to be here, I really mean it from my heart.

"Those who have been blessed enough to be here at the Grammy Awards must never take for granted the tremendous love and joy that music brings to our lives and to people all around the world.

"And now it gives me great joy to present a Grammy Award that two legends Diana Ross and Sting presented to me 27 years ago. These are the outstanding nominees for album of the year."

During a glittering 40 year career Celine sold over 250 million albums and won five Grammy awards.

Celine Dion announces diagnosis with incurable neurological disorder

Among her best-known hits are My Heart Will Go On, from the film Titanic, Think Twice, Because You Loved Me, It's All Coming Back To Me Now, The Power Of Love, and That's The Way It Is.

Dion has spoken about having muscle spasms as a result of Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS), and in 2021, she cancelled her Las Vegas residency due to health concerns.

She revealed her diagnosis in December 2022 and cancelled her Courage World Tour.

Read more: Celine Dion 'no longer has control of her muscles', sister reveals as singer battles 'human statue' condition

Read more: Celine Dion tearfully reveals she has incurable 'Stiff Person Disease', brain condition that turns people into 'human statues'

The main symptoms of SPS are muscle stiffening and spasming. Periods of muscle spasming can be triggered by environmental stimuli like loud noises and can calm down once the stimulus has gone.

Taylor Swift, center, accepts the award for album of the year for 'MIdnights' during the 66th annual Grammy Awards.
Taylor Swift, center, accepts the award for album of the year for 'MIdnights' during the 66th annual Grammy Awards. Picture: Alamy

Some people with SPS have other autoimmune diseases such as type one diabetes, vitiligo and pernicious anaemia.

There is no cure for SPS, but there are ways for the disease to be treated, including through the use of muscle sedatives and relaxants.

Physical and occupational therapy is also a treatment route for people with SPS.

Her older sister Claudette revealed last year that the singer hopes to return to the stage.

She said: "She's working hard, but she doesn't have control over her muscles. What breaks my heart is that she's always been disciplined," Claudette told 7 Jours in Canada.

"She's always worked hard. Our mother always told her, 'You're going to do it well, you're going to do it properly.'"

And she added: "It's true that in both our dreams and hers, the goal is to return to the stage. In what capacity? I don't know."

Scientists have not done much research into the condition because it is so rare, Claudette said, and nobody has been able to find a medicine that will help.

But the star's family charity Fondation Maman Dion has been bombarded with support for the My Heart Will Go On singer.

"Some people have lost hope because it's all illness that isn't well known," she said.

"If only you knew the number of phone calls the Foundation gets about Celine! People tell us they love her and they're praying for her.

"She gets so many messages, presents and blessed crucifixes."

In the past, she said Dion does not need a wheelchair and "has the joy of living", after hitting out at social media claims that she was struggling to move.

Dion announced in May that she was cancelling her world tour because she struggled with the condition.

She had publicly revealed in December she'd been diagnosed with the disorder.

Dion announced that with "tremendous disappointment" she was unable to perform on her world tour and she's "working really hard to build back her strength".

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