Celine Dion details effects of stiff-person syndrome: “Its like somebodys strangling you”

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Ahead of her new Prime Video documentary I Am: Celine Dion, the Canadian star did an interview with NBC’s Hoda Kotb that will air Tuesday. In an advance clip that aired on NBC’s Today Friday, she details what it’s been like for her since she was diagnosed in 2022 with stiff-person syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes muscle spasms.

Asked to describe what it’s like to sing with the disorder, Celine says, “It’s like somebody’s strangling you.” She demonstrates to Kotb by pushing on her throat with her fingers, and adds, “It’s like somebody’s pushing your larynx, pharynx, and you cannot go higher or lower.”

But, Celine notes, her spasms can also be “abdominal, can be in the spine, can be in the ribs.” At one point, she said, her ribs were broken by a severe spasm.

“It feels like if I point my feet, it will stay in [that position],” she said. “Or, if I cook … my fingers, my hands will get in position. It’s cramping, but it’s like in a position of, like, you cannot unlock them.”

Kotb’s full interview airs on June 11 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC. I Am: Celine Dion starts streaming June 25.

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