Singer Roberta Flack, 85, has been diagnosed with ALS — commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or motor neurone disease — and can no longer sing, her manager said. Say.
The American star, also a classically trained pianist, is best known for his hits Killing Me Softly and First Saw Your Face.
She made history, winning Record of the Year at the Grammys two years in a row for two hits, and in 1973, Clint Eastwood used it for his 1971 film The Fog. Misty, “The First Time Ever Saw Your Face” won. For me, then again in 1974 for Killing Me Softly.
Flack’s manager, Suzanne Koga, said in a statement that the disease “has left him unable to sing or speak easily”.
However, she said “it will take more than ALS to silence this icon”.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurological disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle control.
The diagnosis was announced just days before a feature-length documentary about Flack and his career premiered Thursday at the DOC NYC Documentary Film Festival in New York. It will air on US television as part of PBS’ American Masters series in January.
Ms Koga said Flack “plans to remain active in her musical and creative pursuits”, including through her charity, the Roberta Flack Foundation, which both supports animal welfare and helps children, especially girls, gain musical education.
She also plans to publish a children’s book with Tonya Bolden called The Green Piano: How Little Me Found Music.
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Born in North Carolina and raised in Virginia to pianist parents, Flack earned a full scholarship to Howard University at age 15 on the strength of her musical talents.
“I’ve always dreamed of telling my kids the story of the first green piano my dad bought me from the junkyard, hoping they’d be inspired to make their dreams come true,” Flack said in a statement.
“I want them to know that dreams can only come true with perseverance, encouragement from family and friends, and most importantly, faith in yourself.”
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To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the release of her fourth album, Killing Me Softly, will be re-released next year.
Atlantic Records, her record label for the first 30 years of her career, is also celebrating its 75th anniversary.
In 2016, Flack suffered a stroke but was able to return to acting.