Celine Dion documentary to explore her rare illness

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Renowned pop star Celine Dion, coping with a rare neurological disorder, aims to increase awareness about her condition through an upcoming documentary set to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

Amazon MGM Studios presents ‘I Am: Celine Dion,’ a feature-length film providing a glimpse into the singer’s life and career as she confronts Stiff-Person Syndrome (SPS), according to a statement released by Amazon on Tuesday.

The studio has not specified a release date for the documentary, which is set to be accessible in over 240 countries and territories.

Celine Dion publicly revealed her condition in December 2022. Last May, she had to cancel a series of scheduled shows for 2023 and 2024, citing insufficient strength to embark on a tour.

“This last couple of years has been such a challenge for me, the journey from discovering my condition to learning how to live with and manage it, but not to let it define me,” the 55-year-old Canadian said in the statement.

“As the road to resuming my performing career continues, I have realized how much I have missed it, of being able to see my fans,” said the Grammy-winning singer of such hits as “My Heart Will Go On” and “Because You Loved Me.”

“During this absence, I decided I wanted to document this part of my life, to try to raise awareness of this little-known condition, to help others who share this diagnosis.”

Individuals affected by Stiff-Person Syndrome encounter stiffness in the muscles of the torso, arms, and legs, often triggered by noise or emotional distress, leading to spasms. Additional symptoms may include slurred speech and double vision.

While there is no cure for this progressive disorder, treatment options exist to manage symptoms. According to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), SPS is more prevalent in women, affecting twice as many compared to men.

The exact cause remains unknown, but it is believed to stem from a misdirected autoimmune response in the brain and spinal cord, as per NIH.

The documentary, directed by Irene Taylor, incorporates footage from over a year of filming. Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon MGM Studios, described the film as a “raw, intimate portrayal of a pivotal time in her personal life and career, pulling back the curtain on her journey as she overcomes an unthinkable diagnosis.”

Celine Dion, with a career spanning decades and over 250 million albums sold, initiated the “Courage World Tour” in 2019. The tour had completed 52 shows before the Covid-19 pandemic necessitated a pause.

In addition to her musical accomplishments, Dion appeared in the 2023 romantic comedy film “Love Again” and contributed several new songs to its soundtrack.