Roberta Flack has ALS and can no longer sing

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By Robin Foster and Cara Murez

Health Day Reporter

TUESDAY, November 15, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Singer Roberta Flack has the terminal illness ALS and cannot sing, but she plans to remain active on other projects, her manager said Monday.

Flack, 85, is a Grammy winner best known for hits like “Killing Me Softly With His Song” and “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.”

Born in North Carolina and raised in Virginia, Flack became a star when Clint Eastwood used one of her songs in his 1971 film Play Misty for Me Associated Press reported.

Her ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, “has made it impossible to sing and difficult to speak,” manager Suzanne Koga said in a statement to the AP. “But it takes a lot more than ALS to silence this icon.”

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rare neurological disorder that damages brain cells that control voluntary muscle movements such as chewing, speaking and walking. There is no effective treatment to stop or reverse the progression of the disease.

Flack’s ongoing projects include the documentary “Roberta,” which premieres at a film festival in New York City later this week. The film, directed by Antonino D’Ambrosio, will also air on January 24th PBSthe AP reported.

She also plans to publish a children’s book that she co-wrote with Tonya Bolden AP reported. The Green Piano: How Little Me Found Music will be released in January.

“I’ve long dreamed of telling kids my story about that first green piano that my dad got for me from the junkyard, hoping it would inspire them to pursue their dreams,” Flack was quoted as saying in the press release. “I want them to know that with persistence, the encouragement of family and friends, and most importantly, believing in yourself, dreams can come true.”

Flack is a classically trained musician who won a full trip to Howard University at the age of 15. Her parents were pianists.

For the 50th anniversary of their fourth album “Killing Me Softly” in 2023 there will be a reissue that AP reported.

Flack also plans to “keep active in her musical and creative pursuits” through her foundation, Koga said.

More information

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more on ALS.

SOURCE: Associated Press

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Roberta Flack has ALS and can no longer sing
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