WASHINGTON — Music superstar Justin Bieber announced Friday that he had contracted a serious complication from a recent virus that has paralyzed the right side of his face completely.
In a three-minute video posted to his Instagram page, Bieber explained to his fans that he had been diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome.
In the video, the right side of his face doesn't move, leaving Bieber unable to blink one of his eyes or smile with half of his mouth.
Bieber apologized for missing several shows and canceling upcoming events for his "Justin's Justice World Tour," but said his priority was rest and recovery.
“For those frustrated by my cancellations of the next shows, I’m just physically, obviously not capable of doing them,” he said. The singer added, “My body’s telling me I’ve got to slow down. I hope you guys understand.”
What is Ramsay Hunt syndrome?
Ramsay Hunt syndrome happens when a shingles outbreak — which occurs as a second infection of chickenpox — affects nerves near a patient's ear. The disease can cause a painful rash and facial paralysis, as well as hearing loss.
The syndrome is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, and can live in a patient's system for years after a chickenpox infection. It can reactivate at any time.
While there are no cures for the underlying cause of Ramsay Hunt syndrome, the symptoms can be treated and managed once they present themselves. If Ramsay Hunt syndrome isn't treated effectively, it can cause permanent muscle weakness and deafness in the affected ear.
In his Instagram video, the musician said he has been doing facial exercises to regain motion in the right side of his face, and that his features will likely return to normal. But he said there wasn't an exact timeline for when that could be.
“I’ll be using this time to just rest and relax and get back to a hundred percent, so that I can do what I was born to do,” he said.
In March, Biebers’ wife, Hailey Bieber, was hospitalized for a blood clot to her brain.