Céline Dion Returns to the Stage After 3½ Years for a Performance Amid Stiff-Person Syndrome Diagnosis

Published by Cel Manero from Global One Media, Inc.

“I’m aware that she experiences both good and not-so-good days, but today was undeniably a very good day,” remarked Chantal Machabée, a representative for the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, to PEOPLE.

During her first public appearance in over three and a half years, Céline Dion surprised everyone by showcasing her singing talent.

Last week, the 55-year-old “My Heart Will Go On” singer made a remarkable appearance at a hockey game between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Montreal Canadiens. Chantal Machabée, who serves as the vice president of hockey communications for the Canadiens, shared her observations with PEOPLE, noting that Dion appeared “so happy” during the event.

Commenting on Dion’s journey, Machabée expressed, “She’s been through a lot, and to see her like this and smiling and being so happy…it’s amazing.” Machabée acknowledged that Dion experiences both good and not-so-good days but found reassurance in witnessing her in such high spirits on this particular day. Dion had disclosed her diagnosis of stiff-person syndrome, a debilitating condition, last year.

During her outing, the music legend engaged in conversation, shared laughter, and even treated everyone to a few notes of her singing, as mentioned by Machabée. “It was an incredible moment,” she added, emphasizing the incredible qualities of the singer, “She’s an amazing woman.”

On October 30, Céline Dion visited the locker room at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas to greet her hometown team. During her visit, she was seen shaking hands with team members and taking pictures with her sons, René-Charles, 22, and her twins, Eddy and Nelson, who are 13 years old.

After spending time with the team, Machabée shared photos on Instagram featuring the “I’m Alive” performer, with Dion’s arm around her. In her caption, she expressed her gratitude and wrote in French, “We had a beautiful visit at the game in Vegas yesterday. Thanks @celinedion for your generosity. The whole team is so happy to have met you and your family.”

In late 2022, Dion disclosed her diagnosis of stiff-person syndrome, a rare and incurable neurological disease that affects the central nervous system, particularly the brain and spinal cord, as outlined by the Stiff Person Syndrome Foundation. This condition can lead to debilitating muscle spasms and a range of symptoms that significantly impact patients.

According to the foundation, individuals with stiff-person syndrome may experience varying degrees of disability, which can result in the need for a wheelchair or even confinement to a bed. They may become unable to work or care for themselves. The condition is characterized by symptoms such as hyper-rigidity, chronic anxiety, debilitating pain, and muscle spasms so severe that they can dislocate joints and even cause fractures.

Back in May, an insider revealed to PEOPLE that Céline Dion was determined to prioritize her health so she could eventually return to performing live, despite having canceled her concert dates through April 2024.

The source conveyed the challenges Dion faced, noting, “It’s heartbreaking that she has had to cancel touring, but she is suffering mobility and other issues from the disease disrupting her daily life.” Despite these obstacles, Dion was unwavering in her commitment to performing, as the source explained, “She is doing everything she can while working with doctors because she wants to perform. She has not given up at all. She is hoping to get all of the issues with this disease under control so she can sing again.” Her determination to overcome the challenges posed by stiff-person syndrome reflects her strong desire to return to her passion for singing.