Grammy-Award-winning musician Roberta Flack is no longer able to sing after being diagnosed with ALS, reports CNN.
Flack’s manager Suzanne Koga said that the debilitating disease “has made it impossible to sing and not easy to speak.”
“But it will take a lot more than ALS to silence this icon,” she added.
The release also stated that Flack, who is now 85, “plans to stay active in her musical and creative pursuits” and continue working with her foundation.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that cause muscles to function; the disease can lead to paralysis and death.
The news of Flack's diagnosis follows the announcement of the upcoming release of her new documentary Roberta, which is about her life and legendary career. The doc is set to debut at the DOCNYC film festival on November 17 and will also premiere on PBS television in January as a part of its "American Masters" series. Additionally, Flack has a children’s book, The Green Piano: How Little Me Found Music, co-written with Tonya Bolden, that is scheduled to be released January 2023.
“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 said about the book. “I want them to know that dreams can come true with persistence, encouragement from family and friends, and most of all belief in yourself.”
In a career that spans over 50 years, Flack, a classically trained pianist has won four Grammys and received 14 nominations. She earned several No. 1 hits in the 1970s and produced 20 studio albums.
She became the first artist to win two consecutive Record of the Year Grammys—in 1973, for First Time I Ever Saw Your Face and, in 1974, for Killing Me Softly With His Song.
She also recorded albums with the late Donny Hathaway featuring classic songs such as "Where Is the Love,” “You Got a Friend,” “The Closer I Get to You,” and many more.
In 2020, she was honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.