Céline Dion Turns 55 After Heartbreak, Weight Loss & Health Struggles

Mar 30, 2023 by apost team

Céline Dion is a pinnacle name when it comes to the music industry. Her unique vocal tone and impressive singing abilities catapulted her into a lifetime of fame and success, with a career spanning four decades. Dion’s musical style has grown over the years while still staying pretty consistent with the genres of pop, soft rock and chanson, French songs that are lyrically driven. 

Dion’s discography has shown the trials and tribulations of relationships, from the most beautiful love stories to the hardest moments of heartbreak. Facing some hardships herself, Dion has been able to immerse herself into her work and showcase genuineness through the lyrics and melodies. She had opened up to the public about her fertility challenges and was later blessed with three sons with her husband, Rene Angélil. However, the entertainer faced one of the most devastating heartaches she ever had to deal with when Angélil, to whom she had been married for 22 years, died in 2016. Dion suffered a double loss that same year, as her brother, Daniel, passed away at the age of 59 due to cancer of the throat, tongue and brain.

The heartbreak Dion had to face when she lost her husband is something the singer has been struggling with since. Being in the spotlight for such a long period of time is sure to be taxing on anyone, especially someone who is already facing such hardship. Fans grew concerned for the star years back when she started losing weight, her powerful voice being overtaken by her small frame.

The singer has been dealing with health complications for some time now and had to cancel her upcoming events following a heartbreaking announcement. On Dec. 8, 2022, Dion shared the news that she was diagnosed with a rare neurological disease called stiff-person syndrome.

Be sure to reach the end of this article to see the full video

Céline Dion (1998), (Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images)

Dion was born March 30, 1968 in Charlemagne, Quebec, Canada, into a large family. She was the youngest of 14 children, and her parents were both of French-Canadian descent. Growing up, she was constantly surrounded by music and people who loved the arts. So, it came as no surprise when she wanted to pursue singing as a career. 

In August 1973, Dion made her first appearance as a performer at her brother Michel’s wedding. She continued to work on her talent throughout her childhood, and later wrote and composed her first song when she was 12 years old. Michel then sent the recording to Angélil, a music manager who would later become Dion’s husband. Swept away by the young girl’s abilities, Angélil funded her first record and took her on as a client. “La voix du bon Dieu” later became a No. 1 hit in Quebec, helping Dion launch herself into stardom.

Although Dion continued to make her presence known across Canada, she hadn’t reached a huge level of success yet. Dion's international breakthrough came when she duetted with Peabo Bryson on the title track for “Beauty and the Beast” in 1991. The song was featured in the Disney animated film, and became a success for Dion and her career, serving as the lead single on her 1992 self-titled album. The song continued to help Dion push her career forward, earning the singer her very first Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1993.

Language proved to be no barrier for the star, as she released music in both English and French and continued to show off her stunning vocal skills. Love and romance were the consistent themes throughout Dion’s discography, and she even brought her personal romantic feelings into her musical projects.


Rene Angélil, Céline Dion (2007), (Kevin Winter/AMA/Getty Images)

In 1993, she announced her feelings for Angélil, who was still working as her manager, in the dedication section of her album “The Colour of My Love.” Fans embraced the relationship, as Dion appeared to be happy and very much in love with Angélil. The couple married on Dec. 17, 1994 and the ceremony was broadcast on live Canadian television.

“The Colour of My Love” became Dion’s most successful piece of work up until that point. It also earned the singer her first No. 1 single in the United States, Canada and Australia with “The Power of Love.” Although most of her music has been in the pop, soft rock or chanson genres, Dion’s music has contained influences of R&B, gospel, rock and classical throughout her lengthy discography, with most of her songs being sung in either English or French. The 1996 release of Dion’s fourth English-language album “Falling into You” provided some of Dion’s most iconic tracks, including “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now,” “Because You Loved Me” and her rendition of “All By Myself.”

Dion’s career took off to a new level, and her fame and success throughout the 1990s propelled her forward. “Let’s Talk About Love” helped solidify Dion’s spot as an international star. It broke records across the world and earned the singer worldwide success. That album spanned one of the most well-known and recognized love songs of all time, “My Heart Will Go On,” featured in the record-breaking blockbuster “Titanic.” It became one of the most recognizable songs of Dion’s career and earned her numerous awards, including a Grammy.

However, Dion’s career highs juxtaposed with lows in her personal life, including intense publicity surrounding her looks, particularly her lean frame.

Rene-Charles Dion Angélil, Céline Dion (2016), (Tom Szczerbowski/WireImage)

Over the course of her life, Dion faced several hardships. Having been in the spotlight for many decades now, Dion has grown accustomed to constant feedback and criticism and has learned to understand that it’s all part of the job. “If you don’t want to be criticized, you are in the wrong place,” she once said.

The acclaimed singer has been very candid about her struggles through music and interviews, sharing some of the heartaches she’s endured. After reaching new heights in the 1990s, Dion took a break to focus on her personal life. Her husband had been suffering some serious health issues and was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 1999, from which he recovered after treatment.

Finally having time to themselves, Dion and Angélil were ready to start their own family together. Dion underwent fertility treatments and gave birth to her first child, Rene-Charles Dion Angélil, on Jan. 25, 2001. The pair also had two other children, twins Eddy and Nelson Angélil, born Oct. 23, 2010. 

With a longtime marriage, a budding family and an ever-evolving career, it seemed like nothing could break Dion. However, her world came crashing down when Angélil faced yet another cancer scare. He had surgery in December 2013 for his throat cancer and stepped down as Dion’s manager six months later. He passed away on Jan. 14, 2016, from throat cancer, just two days before his 74th birthday.

Dion stayed strong as she grieved the loss of her husband, but started to look thin and frail. She attributed the weight loss to a newfound passion for ballet. However, the media continued to speculate about her health condition and in December 2022, Dion made a heartbreaking announcement revealing she had been diagnosed with a rare and debilitating disease.

Céline Dion (2019), (Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)

On Dec. 8, 2022, Dion took to Instagram to make an emotional announcement that she was rescheduling an upcoming tour and canceling several of its shows due to a heartbreaking health diagnosis. 

The 54-year-old singer said:

“As you know, I’ve always been an open book and I wasn’t ready to say anything before, but I’m ready now. 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 the stiff-person syndrome, which affects something like one in a million people. While we’re still learning about this rare condition, we now know this is what’s been causing all of the spasms that I’ve been having. Unfortunately, these spasms affect every aspect of my daily life, sometimes causing difficulties when I walk and not allowing me to use my vocal chords to sing the way I’m used to.”

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke explained that people with SPS are often “too disabled to walk or move,” and loud sounds can “trigger spasms and falls.” The disorder affects twice as many women as men. The institute stated that scientists are still unsure what causes SPS, but “research indicates that it is the result of an autoimmune response gone awry in the brain and spinal cord.”According to Yale Medicine, there is no cure for SPS. According to Dr. Richard Nowak, an assistant neurology professor at the Yale School of Medicine, the condition “has a range of severity, from quite mild — easily managed with a little bit of medication — to folks that are quite severe that can be, frankly, quite disabled from it.”

Céline Dion (2014), (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Dion’s diagnosis has intensified publicity around the rare neurological disorder, which disrupts the usual pathways of communication between the muscles and the brain. According to Dr. Simon Helfgott, a rheumatologist at Harvard Medical School, the causes of the disease are still not well known. He said about 70% of patients have antibodies that target a certain protein involved in controlling muscle function but these antibodies are not present in all patients, making it hard to detect. 

“This is just such a severe diagnosis to have, especially if you’re an entertainer (on) the world-class type of stage,” Helfgott said in reference to Dion’s diagnosis. “It’s going to be very, very challenging to be able to continue.”

He added: “In stiff persons, the pathways that are attacked are the brake pathways, so you’ve lost your brakes on your muscles. Once your muscle starts to contract, it doesn’t have a way to stop itself from contracting.”

According to Dr. Scott Newsome, director of the Stiff Person Syndrome Center, the first case of the disease was reported in the 1950s. He described it as a “devastating disease” with falls being the most dangerous aspect of suffering from it.

“(Patients) have a lot of postural instability from their rigidity that they develop in their axial skeleton and then also the spasms and so, just walking down the street, they could have a spasm and fall and they're not able to guard themselves because of the postural instability and the reflex ... that they lose,” Newsome said.

While the outlook does not appear to bode well for Dion, the singer is taking the devastating development in stride and exuding strength and fortitude in the face of immense challenges. Her fans have also rallied around her in the wake of the sad news.

Céline Dion (2016), (Lester Cohen/BBMA2016/Getty Images)

Dion explained in her Instagram video her diagnosis meant she had to either postpone or cancel many of her shows in her “Courage World Tour.” However, she also expressed optimism for her future, saying she had a great team around her helping to ensure she is cared for every step of the way. “It hurts me to tell you today that this means I won’t be ready to restart my tour in Europe in February,” she said while visibly holding back tears. “I have a great team of doctors working alongside me to help me get better and my precious children, who are supporting me and giving me hope,” Dion added.

“I’m working hard with my sports medicine therapist every day to build back my strength and my ability to perform again, but I have to admit it’s been a struggle,” she said. “All I know is singing. It’s what I’ve done all my life and it’s what I love to do the most,” she continued.

“I miss you so much. I miss seeing all of you, being on the stage performing for you. I always give a hundred percent when I do my shows, but my condition is not allowing me to give you that right now,” the music icon said in a measured and emphatic tone. She also posted a second clip of the announcement on her Instagram speaking in French. 

“I want to thank you so much for your encouraging wishes and love and support on my social media. This means a lot to me,” Dion concluded.

“Take care of yourselves. Be well. I love you guys so much and I really hope I can see you again real soon.”

We are sending love and light to Dion during this difficult time.

Did you grow up listening to Céline Dion’s music? Which songs of hers are your favorites? Let us know and be sure to pass this along to your loved ones, too.

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