Justin Bieber
Justin BieberFlash90

Singer Justin Bieber has been diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt syndrome, a rare condition that involves facial paralysis which could be permanent. His wife, meanwhile, has suffered a stroke and is currently recovering.

"As you can see this eye is not blinking. I can't smile on this side of my face... So there's full paralysis on this side of my face," he said in an Instagram video, describing how the virus "attacked the nerve in my ear and my facial nerves and has caused my face to have paralysis."

Ramsay Hunt syndrome is caused by a shingles outbreak that affects the facial nerve near the ear. It can also cause hearing loss, eye pain, and blurred vision. For most sufferers, the condition is temporary but in some cases it can become permanent. In the vast majority of cases, it strikes people over the age of 60.

Professor Derick Wade, an expert in neurological rehabilitation at Oxford Brookes University, told Sky News that although most people recover fully, Bieber appears to have a serious case of the virus.

"I noticed that there wasn't any movement, so that is quite severe loss," he said.

Bieber's Justice World Tour which started in February has now announced that three shows will be postponed. The singer had been due to play in Washington DC and Toronto last week with concerts lined up in New York and Los Angeles in the near future.

Bieber has asked his fans to be "patient," blinking to show how the right side of his face is incapable of movement. "This is pretty serious, as you can see. I wish this wasn't the case, but, obviously, my body's telling me I've got to slow down," he said. "I hope you guys understand. 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."

Bieber added that he has been doing facial exercises to "get back to normal", but that he has no idea how long it will take to recover.