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Killing Me Softly singer Roberta Flack announces she has ALS which makes it 'impossible' to sing

Killing Me Softly singer Roberta Flack announces she has ALS which makes it 'impossible' to sing

The Grammy-winning musician has been left unable to sing and struggles to talk after being diagnosed with ALS.

'Killing Me Softly' singer Roberta Flack has been diagnosed with a condition which makes it impossible for her to sing, it has been announced.

The Grammy winner’s management confirmed on Monday (14 November) that she is suffering with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which has also left her with difficulty speaking.

“ALS has made it impossible to sing and not easy to speak,but it will take a lot more than ALS to silence this icon," the statement read, adding that Flack “plans to stay active in her musical and creative pursuits.”

ALS – which is also known as motor neurone disease (MND) or Lou Gehrig’s disease after the baseball player who was diagnosed with it– is a rare neurological condition that mostly affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that are responsible for controlling voluntary muscle movement.

It can affect a person’s ability to move, speak and even breath and there are no known cures for ALS.

Roberta Flack at the 2020 Grammy Awards.
Sipa US / Alamy Stock Photo.

Flack, whose hits include 'The Closer I Get To You', is set to star in an upcoming documentary about her life which premieres in New York City next week. The doc is being released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of her fourth album, Killing Me Softly, which was released in 1973.

The title track was famously covered by the hip hop group Fugees in 1996 with Lauryn Hill performing lead vocals, and became an international hit.

The 85-year-old performer is also known for her soul and jazz music including the 1972 acclaimed hit ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ which won the Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

Flack also suffered a stroke in 2016.

She’s also planning to publish a children’s book in January titled The Green Piano: How Little Me Found Music, which is about her childhood and how learning to play the piano inspired her life.

Roberta Flack with Reverend Jesse Jackson in 2022.
Sipa US / Alamy Stock Photo.

“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 recently shared.

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

Roberta, the feature-length documentary about the singer’s life, will debut at the DOCNYC film festival. Directed by Antonio D’Ambrosio, it will eventually air in the US as part of the PBS American Masters series on 24 January 2023.

Featured Image Credit: Jeffrey Mayer / Alamy Stock Photo/Sipa US / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Music, News, Celebrity