Celine Dion in the Prime Video documentary 'I Am: Celine Dion'
(Prime Video)

Years After Her Life-Changing Diagnosis, Celine Dion Is Ready To Tell Her Story

It has been almost two years since Celine Dion announced to the world that she had been diagnosed with a rare, life-altering disorder. Now, she is ready to tell her story in the upcoming documentary I Am: Celine Dion.

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Dion is a legendary singer who earned the nicknames “Queen of Pop” and “Queen of Power Ballads” for her influence in the music industry. She is considered one of the greatest female artists of all time, as she popularized francophone music internationally and helped pave the way for other contemporary female music artists through her powerful vocals. Dion is also one of the best-selling and most successful female artists ever, as well as one of the greatest vocalists in the music industry. Even over 40 years into her career, the legendary singer was still going strong, launching her first world tour in a decade, the Courage World Tour, in 2019.

The COVID-19 pandemic delayed part of her tour, which was set to resume in 2022. However, Dion soon delayed the tour again, citing health issues. Then, in December 2022, Dion announced that she’d been diagnosed with the rare neurological disease Stiff Person Syndrome, and the rest of the tour was canceled. Aside from a few public appearances, the singer has largely stayed out of the spotlight amid her health struggles. But Dion is back, and she’s ready to share her experiences with the world.

Prime Video drops the emotional first trailer for I Am: Celine Dion

On May 23, Amazon Prime Video dropped the first official trailer for I Am: Celine Dion. The documentary is set to premiere on the streamer on June 25, 2024.

The trailer begins with snippets of Dion’s past performances as she narrates how important her voice is to her. However, the trailer takes a somber turn as viewers hear a 911 call before it cuts to Dion, explaining, “I’ve been diagnosed with a very rare neurological disorder, and I wasn’t ready to say anything before, but I’m ready now.” Dion continues to discuss her life and love for performing, describing how difficult it has been to cancel shows and miss the feeling and the people she surrounded herself with when she was on stage. Still, she remains adamant that nothing will stop her, stating, “If I can’t run, I’ll walk, if I can’t walk, I’ll crawl … I won’t stop.”

The documentary is directed by Academy Award nominee Irene Taylor, best known for her work on the documentaries The Final Inch, Beware the Slenderman, and Hear and Now. I Am will primarily focus on Dion, and it remains to be seen if any of her colleagues or family members will participate in the documentary, as well.

The official synopsis for the documentary reads:

Directed by Academy Award nominee Irene Taylor, I AM: CELINE DION gives us a raw and honest behind-the-scenes look at the iconic superstar’s struggle with a life-altering illness. Serving as a love letter to her fans, this inspirational documentary highlights the music that has guided her life while also showcasing the resilience of the human spirit.

What is Stiff Person Syndrome?

I Am: Celine Dion could be very helpful in raising awareness for Stiff Person Syndrome, a disorder few people likely knew of before Dion announced her diagnosis. As the name suggests, the most common symptoms of SPS are muscle stiffness and spasms, which grow progressively more severe if left untreated. There is no cure for the disorder, but treatment can prevent it from progressing and help elevate a patient’s quality of life. It is extremely rare, occurring in just one to two people in a million, and disproportionately affects women.

Often, a patient experiences muscle rigidity and spasms in episodes, which can be triggered by many things, such as loud noises, sudden movements, temperature changes, or touch. Such spasms are very painful, and their suddenness can even lead to loss of balance and falls. The stiffness can also make it difficult for patients to walk and may affect their posture, giving them chronic pain. In some cases, SPS can even affect vision and speech. Some patients with the disorder may also develop agoraphobia, as they live in fear of triggering an episode or experiencing a fall in unfamiliar environments.

It is also now suspected that SPS covers a whole spectrum of disorders, meaning the number of people with this condition may be underestimated and underreported. Hence, Dion’s documentary has potential to raise further awareness of this disorder and advocate for more research into treatment options. Given Dion’s resilience, it seems I Am: Celine Dion may also inspire people with SPS and other rare disorders to continue pursuing their dreams.

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.