Legendary Singer Roberta Flack Diagnosed With ALS, Can No Longer Sing

A battle with ALS has robbed beloved singer Roberta Flack of her ability to sing.

Roberta Flack

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A battle with ALS has robbed beloved singer Roberta Flack of her ability to sing. 

Flack’s management team announced that the 85-year-old is battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig's disease, according to NPR. The nervous system disease has made it "impossible to sing and not easy to speak," a spokesperson said in a press release on Monday. 

“Miss Flack plans to stay active in her musical and creative pursuits,” the release continues. “Her fortitude and joyful embrace of music that lifted her from modest circumstances to the international spotlight remain vibrant and inspired." 

The North Carolina native has won four Grammy Awards, as well as a lifetime achievement prize in 2020. She is best known for her 1973 album Killing Me Softly. The album’s title track, “Killing Me Softly With His Song,” won the 1974 Grammy Award for Record of the Year.

ALS is a progressive disease that causes nerve cells to break down, reducing muscle function. There is currently no cure.

Flack, who was diagnosed with the disease in August, doesn’t plan to let it slow her down ahead of the 50th anniversary of Killing Me Softly.

Roberta, a documentary about Flack’s life is set to premiere next week, and the singer has plans to publish a children's book, The Green Piano: How Little Me Found Music, in January.

"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," she said in a statement. "I want them to know that dreams can come true with persistence, encouragement from family and friends, and most of all belief in yourself."

Our hearts are with Roberta, as well as her family and friends.

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