Celine Dion vows the show will go on: 'I'm gonna go back onstage, even if I have to crawl'

The "Because You Loved Me" singer told Hoda Kotb how stiff person syndrome has affected her voice and her life.

Celine Dion is determined to return to performing, despite her health challenges.

In a primetime interview with Today host Hoda Kotb on Tuesday, Dion was candid about her struggles with stiff person syndrome, the rare, progressive neurological disorder that causes muscle rigidity, spasms, mobility issues, and shortness of breath. It means, for her, that her voice is not always in her control, which is limiting for the five-time Grammy winner.

And yet.

"I'm gonna go back onstage, even if I have to crawl. Even if I have to talk with my hands. I will. I will," she said. "I am Celine Dion. Because today my voice will be heard for the first time, not just because I have to, or because I need to. It's because I want to. And I miss it."

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Related: Celine Dion says trying to sing with stiff person syndrome is 'like somebody's strangling you'

In a PEOPLE story published Tuesday, Dion explained just how those symptoms that she began experiencing in the 2000s — long before she told the public — affected her daily.

"I was going down, down, down. It took my whole life," Dion said. "But it's like if my kids are rollerblading, for example, and one of their ankles is hurting. They don't want to tell me because I'm going to say, 'Well, take a break from rollerblading.' I didn't want to stop. I wanted to stay onstage. I wanted to be brave instead of smart. That was wrong."

<p>Emma McIntyre/Getty</p> Celine Dion spoke about her illness

Emma McIntyre/Getty

Celine Dion spoke about her illness

Related: Céline Dion's heart goes on and on as she battles illness in the trailer for her new documentary

Dion said during the Today interview that there was a particular night she performed in Germany in June 2008 that she couldn't move her voice as she usually does during her warm-up exercises. She was able to sing an abbreviated concert that night.

Kotb said Dion would try to pretend everything was fine by faking a broken microphone or asking the crowd to sing with her. She also took medication to help her — medication, Kotb noted, that was dangerous.

"I did not know, honestly, that it could kill me. I would take, like, for example, before a performance, 20 milligrams of Valium, and then just walking from my dressing room to backstage," said Dion, as she snapped her fingers. "It was gone already."

Her tolerance increased, she said, and she was up to 90 milligrams per day, and even then she had to delay and cancel some shows.

Related: Celine Dion cancels Courage tour amid ongoing health issues: 'I'm not giving up'

Then came the pandemic, and Dion finally stopped working to reset and focus on her health.

In December 2022, she announced her diagnosis.

The "My Heart Will Go On" singer hasn't been seen in public regularly in the past few years, but she made a notable exception in February for the Grammys, where she presented Taylor Swift with the coveted Album of the Year award.

She's always said that she wanted to fight her way back to the stage. In March, she wrote on social media, "Trying to overcome this autoimmune disorder has been one of the hardest experiences of my life, but I remain determined to one day get back onto the stage and to live as normal of a life as possible. I am deeply grateful for the love and support from my kids, family, team, and all of you!"

"Celine's Story," a special event from Today’s Hoda Kotb/NBC News, will be available to stream on Peacock, starting Wednesday, June 12. A documentary about Dion's life now, I Am: Celine Dion, arrives Tuesday, June 25, on Prime Video.

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.