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Celine Dion makes a surprise appearance at the 2024 Grammys with Taylor Swift

los angeles, california february 04 for editorial use only celine dion speaks onstage during the 66th grammy awards at cryptocom arena on february 04, 2024 in los angeles, california photo by amy sussmangetty images
Celine Dion appears at the 2024 GrammysAmy Sussman - Getty Images

The 2024 Grammys was certainly packed with heartfelt moments: Taylor Swift made history with her record-breaking Grammy win; Meryl Streep had a sweet on-stage interaction with her son-in-law Mark Ronson; and Joni Mitchell performed at the award show for the first time, at the age of 80. One of the best – and most unexpected – events of the evening, however, was the surprise appearance of legendary singer Celine Dion, who has been largely out of the public eye as she battles the rare neurological condition, Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS).

The 55-year-old was in attendance to present the biggest award of the night for Album of the Year, which went to Swift for Midnights. As the My Heart Will Go On singer walked out onstage with her son – 27 years after Diana Ross presented the same prize to her – she was greeted with rapturous applause.

los angeles, california february 04 celine dion speaks onstage during the 66th grammy awards at cryptocom arena on february 04, 2024 in los angeles, california photo by kevin mazurgetty images for the recording academy
Celine Dion walked out on stage with her son, to rapturous applauseKevin Mazur - Getty Images

"Thank you all... When I say that I'm happy to be here, I really mean it from my heart," Dion said. "Those who have been blessed enough to be here at the Grammy awards must never take it for granted, the tremendous love and joy that music brings to our lives and to people all around the world."

Swift walked on stage to Dion's hit song, The Power of Love, and graciously accepted the trophy accompanied by friend Lana Del Ray and producer Jack Antonoff – though she later drew criticism from some online for appearing to offer Dion only the briefest acknowledgement. The pair later quashed rumours of a rift by hugging each other for photographs backstage.

taylor swift accepts the album of the year award for midnights on stage with celine dion at the 66th annual grammy awards held at cryptocom arena on february 4, 2024 in los angeles, california photo by christopher polkbillboard via getty images
Dion was in attendance to present the Album of the Year award to Taylor Swift Christopher Polk - Getty Images
los angeles, california february 04 l r celine dion and taylor swift attend the 66th grammy awards at cryptocom arena on february 04, 2024 in los angeles, california photo by kevin mazurgetty images for the recording academy
The pair were photographed laughing and hugging backstageKevin Mazur - Getty Images

Dion has sold more than 250 million albums during her 40-year career, and has won five Grammy awards herself. She was diagnosed with SPS in 2022, and later cancelled her Courage world tour due to the illness, which causes difficulty moving and with her vocal cords.

The main symptoms of SPS are muscle stiffening and spasming, which can be triggered by environmental stimuli like loud noises, and can calm down when the stimulus is gone. Currently there is no cure for SPS, but the disease can be treated by methods including the use of muscle sedatives and relaxants.

onstage during the 2016 billboard music awards at t mobile arena on may 22, 2016 in las vegas, nevada
Dion (pictured here at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards) has made history with her decades-long career, but has recently been out of the public eyeKevin Winter - Getty Images

Last month, it was announced that a documentary following the singer as she lives with her illness will be released on Amazon Prime Video. "This last couple of years have been such a challenge for me," Dion said in a press statement. "The journey from discovering my condition to learning how to live with and manage it, but not to let it define me. As the road to resuming my performing career continues, I have realised how much I have missed it, of being able to see my fans. 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."

Dion's triumphant return to the stage recalls the moment that Christina Applegate, who is suffering from MS, was given a standing ovation at the Emmys last month. See our coverage of awards season here, including the best beauty looks from last night, and the books to read in advance of the Oscars.

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