Celine Dion makes rare appearance at Grammys

Celine Dion made a surprise appearance at the Grammys on Sunday night, presenting Taylor Swift with the award for album of the year. Dion has made very few public appearances since revealing she was diagnosed with stiff-person syndrome, a rare neurological disorder, in 2022.

In November, Dion, 55, was seen at an NHL game with her three sons, according to Entertainment Tonight. But in an interview published in December, her sister Claudette Dion opened up about the condition, saying Dion doesn’t have control of her muscles.

Stiff-person syndrome, also called Moersch-Woltman syndrome, is a “rare neurological disorder with features of an autoimmune disease that causes the body to become rigid and more sensitive to noise, touch and emotional distress,” according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. It can also leave patients with “hunched over and stiffened” postures.

According to Yale Medicine, there is no cure for stiff-person syndrome. The condition can be treated with therapies and medications like sedatives, muscle relaxants and steroids.

Some doctors prescribe immune-based therapies, believing they may slow the progression of stiff-person syndrome, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Immune therapies include intravenous drugs and plasma exchanges.

Some cases of the condition may result in higher levels of disability, and patients may need help walking, with some eventually needing a wheelchair.

At the Grammys, Dion did not use a walking device like cane to stand at the mic, but her 23-year-old son, Rene Charles escorted her out. “When I say that I’m happy to be here, I really mean it from my heart,” she said. 

Celine Dion at the 66th GRAMMY Awards
Celine Dion speaks onstage before presenting the Album of the Year award during the 66th GRAMMY Awards at Crypto.com Arena on Feb. 4, 2024 in Los Angeles.

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

After postponing tour dates, Dion decided to completely cancel her world tour in 2023 as she dealt with the condition. 

Her sister said their dream is for Dion to return to the stage, but it is uncertain. “Vocal cords are muscles, but so is the heart. That’s what gets to me. Because it’s [a] one in a million case, scientists don’t have that much research on the topic, because it didn’t affect that many people,” Claudette Dion told the French news outlet 7 Jours in December.

Swift’s Grammy win for her album “Midnights” was her fourth in the album of the year category, the most for any artist. While some social media commenters thought it looked like she snubbed Dion — running onto the stage and hugging other collaborators before taking the award from Dion — the pair did take a photo together, smiling and embracing backstage after Swift’s acceptance speech. 

Celine Dion and Taylor Swift at the 66th GRAMMY Awards at Crypto.com Arena on Feb. 4, 2024 in Los Angeles. Dion presented the Album of the Year award, which Swift won for a record-breaking fourth time.

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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