Celine Dion's last performance: Star sings 'My Heart Will Go On' before Stiff Person Syndrome diagnosis
22 March 2023, 16:57
Celine Dion last appeared on stage in London in 2019 before announcing her she was suffering from rare 'one in a million' illness.
Celine Dion has been a mainstay of music scene since she first burst onto the world stage in the late 1980s.
From winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1988, to her global chart-topping success and incredible 16-year Las Vegas residency, Celine Dion is without a doubt one of the most successful singers of the 20th and 21st centuries.
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Yet little did Celine Dion – or her fans – know that her appearance at the BST concert in Hyde Park on July 5, 2019 would be the last time the singer would perform in public before being diagnosed with a devastating incurable illness.
The evening saw Celine Dion open the night in a blue 80's inspired jumpsuit with power ballad classic 'The Power of Love', before moving on to favourites including 'Because You Loved Me' and 'It’s All Coming Back to Me Now'.
"I'm looking out at this sea of people you look beautiful! People of London – my people. Are you ready to have a good time with me tonight?," she said to the crowd.
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Taking to the stage in a spectacular yellow gown, Celine Dion sings her most iconic song, 'My Heart Will Go On', to a mesmerised crowd.
The audience can be heard singing every word to the song as she performs the heartfelt classic, for what would be the last time before her devastating health diagnosis.
Celine had finished the latest leg of her 16-year Las Vegas residency just a week before the London performance, and after Covid hit, was due to complete her North American Courage tour, before making a surprise announcement.
In a statement released in January 2022, Celine said that "severe and persistent muscle spasms" were preventing her from performing, and "her recovery is taking longer than she hoped.
“I was really hoping that I’d be good to go by now, but I suppose I just have to be more patient and follow the regimen that my doctors are prescribing,” Dion said in the statement.
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Yet it wasn't until December 2022 that the whole picture emerged, with Celine releasing a video statement confirming her doctors had given her a devastating health diagnosis.
Celine has been diagnosed with 'Stiff Person Syndrome', a rare autoimmune neurological disorder that affects 'one in a million' people, and is characterised by muscle spasms, often triggered by noise, touch and stress.
Celine Dion - My Heart Will Go On - London (05/Jul/2019)
Celine told fans that because of her deteriorating health, she was forced to cancel her European tour.
"Hello everyone, I'm sorry it's taken me so long to reach out to you. I miss you all so much and can’t wait to be on stage talking to you in person," she said in the video.
"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 my challenges and to talk about everything that I’ve been going through.
"While we’re still learning about this rare condition, we now know this is what’s been causing all the spasms I’ve been having," she added.
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"Unfortunately, these spasms affect every aspect of my daily life sometimes causing difficulties when I walk and not allowing me to use my vocal cords to sing the way I'm used to."
She explained that she has a "great team of doctors working alongside her" and is being supported by her "precious children".
"I miss you so much I miss seeing all of you being on the stage performing for you I always give 100 percent when I do my show but my condition is now allowing me to give you that right now," she added.
Celine Dion announces diagnosis with incurable neurological disorder
"For me to reach you again I have no choice but to concentrate on my health at this moment and I have hope that I'm on the road to recovery,
"This is my focus and I'm doing everything I can to recuperate."
Since the announcement, the star has been recuperating at her home in Las Vegas, with her sister Claudette revealing the singer is staying positive despite the shocking diagnosis.
Speaking to Le Journal de Montreal, Claudette said: "I am confident that life will give her back what she gave because she is an extremely intelligent woman, so very generous and talented and in love with life as well."
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"Rather than crying over her fate, I try to send her positive vibes in the hope that one day she will go back on stage," she added.
"I truly believe in the power of love. I wish her the best of luck, that's for sure. She is surrounded by specialists as she continues to recover."
Celine's first sighting since her diagnosis was in a video appearance to mark International Women's Day, released on March 8.
Celine Dion wasn't sure she could hit high note in 'All By Myself'
The Canadian singer joined L'Oréal Paris and other female stars to support the Stand Up against Street Harassment program, an initiative to raise awareness regarding harassment towards women.
"On International Women's Day, I'm proud to be part of the Stand Up against Street Harassment program by @lorealparis!" Celine wrote in the video's caption.
The video is likely to have been recorded at the star's Las Vegas home where she has been staying since her diagnosis.
Fans of the star took to the comments section of the video to show their support, with many followers sending their love to Celine and wishing her well in her recovery.
"Love you and miss you Céline. Hope you're doing well," one said.
"Don’t ever forget that we love and miss you so so much. Take care and be happy always. Sending you lots of love and hugs," another wrote.