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Grammy-Nominated Singer Diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome

Sufjan Stevens has revealed on social media that he is battling the rare neurological disorder.

Sufjan Stevens, a celebrated Indie Rock singer and Grammy nominee, shared some sad news with his fans on Wednesday. In a candid Instagram post, the Mystery of Love singer revealed that he has been diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that has left him in a wheelchair. In a lengthy statement, he filled his fans in on what he has been going through over the past month.

He Explained to Fans That He Wasn't Promoting His New Album Because He Is in the Hospital

Sufjan Stevens/Instagram

Stevens, 48, explained to fans that while he is "very excited about having new music to share," he wanted to explain that he wasn't able to participate in the press and promotion leading up to the release of Javelin, because he is "in the hospital."

He Woke Up Last Month and "Couldn't Walk"


"Last month I woke up one morning and couldn't walk. My hands, arms and legs were numb and tingling and I had no strength, no feeling, no mobility," he explained. 

At the Hospital He Was Diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome



"My brother drove me to the ER and after a series of tests—MRIs, EMGs, cat scans, X-rays, spinal taps (!), echo-cardiograms, etc.—the neurologists diagnosed me with an auto immune disorder called Guillain-Barre Syndrome," he continued. 

The Treatment Worked


"Luckily there's treatment for this — they administer immuno-hemoglobin infusions for five days and pray that the disease doesn't spread to the lungs, heart and brain. Very scary, but it worked," he said.  

He Was "Stuck in a Bed" at the Hospital for Two Weeks


"I spent about two weeks in Med/Surg, stuck in a bed, while my doctors did all the things to keep me alive and stabilize my condition. I owe them my life," he continued. 

He Is Now in Acute Rehab Learning "to Walk Again"

Sufjan Stevens/Instagram

"On September 8, I was transferred to acute rehab, where I am now undergoing intensive physical therapy/occupational therapy, strength building etc. to get my body back in shape and to learn to walk again."


He Believes He Will "Recover"


Stevens maintains his prognosis is good. "It's a slow process, but they say I will "recover," it just takes a lot of time, patience, and hard work," he said. 

He Hopes to Be Walking in a Year


"Most people who have GBS learn to walk again on their own within a year, so I am hopeful. I'm only in my second week of rehab but it is going really well and I am working really hard to get back on my feet. I'm committed to getting better, I'm in good spirits, and I'm surrounded by a really great team. I want to be well!" he added. 

He Thanked His Care Team

Sufjan Stevens/Instagram

"I'll keep you posted as I progress. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. And a huge shout out to all the incredible caretakers of the world working night and day to help us heal. They are living saints. Be well, be joyful, stay sane, stay safe. I love you," he wrote. "Yours truly from a wheelchair XOXOXO Sufjan Stevens."

Guillain-Barré Syndrome Impacts One in 100,000 People a Year


According to the National Institutes of Health, Guillain-Barré Syndrome is a neurological disorder where the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the nervous system, causing muscle weakness and temporary paralysis. It affects around one in 100,000 people a year. Symptoms generally start with a tingling in the legs or hands, progressing to weakness in both sides of the body that increases in intensity.


Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more
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