Roberta Flack Unable to Sing After ALS Diagnosis

Photo Credit: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for BET

Legendary soul artist Roberta Flack has been diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and can no longer sing.

Legendary soul singer-songwriter and pianist Roberta Flack no longer has the ability to sing after recently being diagnosed with ALS. Flack, best known for songs “Killing Me Softly With His Song” and “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face,” made the announcement Monday (November 14), three days ahead of the release of full-length documentary Roberta.

The progressive disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, “has made it impossible to sing and not easy to speak,” Flack’s manager Suzanne Koga said in a press release. “But it will take a lot more than ALS to silence this icon.”

The release adds that the Grammy-winning artist, now 85 years-old, “plans to stay active in her musical and creative pursuits” through her eponymous foundation and other avenues.

In 2023, Flack will publish a children’s book co-written with Tonya Bolden titled The Green Piano: How Little Me Found Music.

“I have long dreamed of telling my story to children about that first green piano that my father got for me from the junkyard in the hope that they would be inspired to reach for their dreams,” Flack was quoted in the release. “I want them to know that dreams can come true with persistence, encouragement from family and friends, and most of all belief in yourself.”

Also next year, Flack’s fourth album Killing Me Softly will have a 50th anniversary reissue, while the Roberta documentary will make its television debut.

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