Justin Bieber performed on Sunday for the first time since being diagnosed in June with Ramsay Hunt syndrome, which paralyzed half his face, according to Yahoo. He took Italy’s Lucca Summer Festival stage to audible cheers and online praise from his wife, Hailey Bieber.
“One thing I know for certain is you can’t keep this guy down,” she wrote in an Instagram Story over footage of the 28-year-old singing “Holy.”
The singer announced his condition in an Instagram video on June 10 and explained it affected his ear and facial nerves. He then canceled the rest of his North American “Justice World Tour” dates, according to Uproxx. Bieber kept the Lucca show in his books, however, and emerged as promised.
“This is my first day back,” Bieber told the crowd. “It’s so good to be here. As some of you guys know, the ‘Justice Tour’ is about equality, it’s about justice for all, no matter what you look like, no matter your shape, your size, your ethnicity. We are all the same, we’re all one.”
The Grammy winner went on to speak about racism before thanking his fans.
“We know that racism is evil and we know that division is evil, it is wrong,” added Bieber. “But we are here to be the difference makers. I want to say thank you to each and every one of you guys for being a part of this tour.”
Bieber’s initial reveal that he suffered from Ramsay Hunt syndrome marked the first time that many people had heard of the condition. The name itself was searched for on Google more than 5 million times on June 10, according to AMP Agency.
Ramsay Hunt usually is caused by the same virus that spawns chickenpox and shingles and usually occurs in people over age 60, according to Mount Sinai. Bieber didn’t take the diagnosis lightly and assured fans that he was doing facial exercises and following the orders of his doctors.
“Obviously, my body’s telling me I gotta slow down,” said Bieber in the Instagram video. “It will go back to normal. Just time and we don’t know how much time that’s gonna be, but it’s gonna be OK. And I have hope, and I trust God, that this is all for a reason.”
Bieber was fortunate to have suffered a relatively minor infection of the Ramsay Hunt syndrome virus, as severe damage to the nerves in question can prevent patients from making a full recovery even after months of treatment, according to Mount Sinai.
His partial paralysis came months after Hailey Bieber suffered a ministroke in March. She revealed on “Good Morning America” days after her husband’s diagnosis that their health scares and following healing processes have brought them closer.