Legendary American composer and musician Roberta Flack, who gave us such hits as kill me softly and Here is love, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and will no longer be able to sing.
The Grammy-winning songbird made the announcement through a rep this week. The 85-year-old Flack will, however, remain active in music and creative pursuits through her namesake foundation and other avenues, the statement said.
ALS is commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a nervous system condition that weakens the muscles of the body and affects physical function. The cause of the condition is not known and there is no cure.
Although the diagnosis makes it difficult to speak, let alone sing, Flack’s manager Suzanne Koga said “it will take a lot more than ALS to silence this icon.”
The musician, who still makes us sing The first time I saw your face, actor Clint Eastwood used his music as the soundtrack to a love scene in his 1971 film Play Misty for me.
Meanwhile, Flack plans to publish a children’s book co-written by Tonya Bolden.
“I have long dreamed of telling my story to children about my first green piano my dad bought me from a junkyard in hopes that they would be inspired to follow their dreams,” Flack said in the communicated.
“I also want them to know that dreams can come true with perseverance, encouragement from family and friends, and above all believing in yourself.”
Publication of the children’s book and a documentary is planned for 2023. It will include the commemoration of the 50e anniversary of his fourth album kill me softly with a reissue. Flack’s label, Atlantic Records, is also celebrating its 75th anniversarye Party.
Flack also suffered a stroke in 2016.
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