A representative of Roberta Flack announced Monday that the Grammy-winning musician has ALS, Known as Lou Gehrig’s diseaseHe could no longer sing.
The advanced disease “made it impossible to sing and not easy to talk,” FLAC director Susan Koga said in a statement. “But it will take more than ALS to silence this code.”
The announcement of an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis diagnosis comes ahead of the premiere of “Roberta,” a feature-length documentary that premieres Thursday at the DOCNYC Film Festival.
Flack is known for his hits Such as “Killing Me Softly With His Song” and “First Time I Saw Your Face”, which propelled her to stardom after Clint Eastwood used it as the soundtrack to a love scene in his 1971 film “Play Misty for Me”. “
The release says the 85-year-old Grammy-winning singer and pianist “plans to remain active in her musical and creative endeavours” through her eponymous foundation and other avenues.
The documentary, directed by Antonino D’Ambrosio, will be in competition at the festival and available via the DOCNYC website for a week afterward, before being televised on January 24 as part of PBS’ “American Masters” series.
Flack also plans to publish a children’s book co-written with Tonya Bolden, “Green Piano: How Music Found a Little MeThat month. North Carolina-born, Virginia-raised Flack is the daughter of pianists and has classically trained herself—her talent won her a full trip to Howard University at just 15 years old.
“I have always dreamed of telling my children my story about the first green piano my father brought me from the scrap yard in the hope that it would inspire them to reach their dreams,” Flack was quoted in the statement. “I want them to know that dreams can come true with persistence, encouragement from family and friends, and most of all faith in yourself.”
The premiere of the television documentary and book publication will begin in 2023, which will also mark the 50th anniversary celebration of her fourth album “Killing Me Softly” with its re-release. Her brand for the first three decades of her career, Atlantic Records, is also celebrating its 75th anniversary.
Flack had a stroke in 2016 and Talk to The Associated Press After a little over two years about returning to performing. When asked if she would sing one of her old songs at an upcoming event at the time, she quickly replied, “There’s no such thing as an old song,” preferring the term “classic” instead.
“I can sing any number of songs I’ve recorded over the years, and easily, I can sing them, but I will choose those songs that move me,” Flack said. “Now that’s hard. To be moved, to be constantly influenced by your own songs.”
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