Sufjan Stevens: Musician who woke up ‘unable to walk’ diagnosed with Guillian-Barre syndrome


Indie musician Sufjan Stevens has told fans he’s been diagnosed with a rare and serious nerve condition, after he “woke up one morning and couldn’t walk”.

The 48-year-old US star, who was Oscar and Grammy nominated for his song Mystery Of Love which featured in 2017 film Call Me By Your Name, told fans he is suffering from Guillain-Barre syndrome and receiving treatment in hospital.

Posting a selfie from beside his hospital bed, he wrote: “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.

“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 Guillian-Barre Syndrome.

“Luckily there’s treatment for this – they administer immuno-haemoglobin 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 owes the doctors his life after he spent two weeks in bed while they kept him “alive and stable”.

He had been due to promote his new album, Javelin, which is due out next month.

Guillain-Barre syndrome, which can be life-threatening, mainly affects the feet, hands and limbs, causing numbness, weakness and pain, according to the NHS.

While it can affect people of all ages, it is more common in adult men.

Stevens says he is now in rehabilitation and learning how to walk again.

He wrote: “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!

“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.”

He signed off his post, “yours truly from a wheelchair”.

The multi-instrumentalist – who among other instruments plays the guitar, banjo, keyboard, oboe and horn – has nine solo albums, with his tenth due out in October.


Leave a Comment