American Actress Roberta Flack diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease
Roberta Flack, 85, has ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or motor neuron disease, and is no longer able to sing.
“The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face” and “Killing Me Softly With His Song” are the two songs that the American actress, who is also a classically trained pianist, is best known for.
She made history when both of her hits won a Grammy Award for record of the year in back-to-back years: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face won in 1973 after Clint Eastwood used it as the soundtrack for a love scene in his 1971 film Play Misty for Me, and Killing Me Softly took home the prize the following year.
Flack’s manager, Suzanne Koga, said in a statement that the illness “has rendered it impossible to sing and not easy to speak.”
It will take a lot more than ALS to silence this icon,” she added.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease that damages nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord and gets worse over time, makes it hard for people to control their muscles.
A feature-length documentary about Flack and her career will have its world premiere on Thursday at the DOC NYC documentary film festival in New York, just days after the diagnosis was made public. In January, it will be shown on US television as a part of PBS’s American Masters series.
Ms. Koga says that Flack “plans to keep working on her music and other creative projects.” One of these is the nonprofit Roberta Flack Foundation, which helps animals and helps young people, especially girls, learn music.
She also intends to release The Green Piano: How Little I Found Music, a children’s book that she co-wrote with Tonya Bolden.
Flack received a full scholarship to Howard University at the age of 15 thanks to her musical abilities. Flack was born in North Carolina and raised in Virginia. Her parents are both pianists.
“I want them to know that dreams can come true with persistence, encouragement from family and friends, and most of all belief in yourself,” said Flack in a statement.
Killing Me Softly, her fourth album will be released again the following year to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
Atlantic Records, the company she was signed to for the first three decades of her career, is also commemorating its 75th birthday.
Flack experienced a stroke in 2016, but he was still able to perform.