Legendary singer Roberta Flack has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and the disease has made it “impossible to sing and not easy to speak,” according to a statement from her manager, Susan Koga.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease after the Baseball Hall of Fame, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain. People with ALS deplete the strength and control of their muscles, and they gradually lose the ability to move, talk, eat and breathe.
In a statement, Flack’s representatives wrote, “It will take more than ALS to silence this code.” In this spirit, she has a number of notable projects to come, starting with the documentary, Roberta. It covers her life, influence and premieres November 17 at DOCNYC, the world’s largest documentary film festival. Those who cannot attend in person can watch it from November 18-27 through the festival’s website.
On January 10th, 2023, Flack will publish the children’s book Green Piano: How Little Music Found Me. “I have always dreamed of telling my story to children about the first green piano my father brought me from the junkyard in hopes that they would be inspired to pursue their dreams,” Flack said in a 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.”
Then, in the fall of 2023, she will release a commemoration of the 50th anniversary re-release of her landmark album, It kills me softly.
During her 50-plus year career, Flack has released three number-one singles—”First Time I Ever Saw Your Face,” “Killing Me Softly With His Song,” and “Feel Like Makin’ Love”—and has won five Grammy Awards. , including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020.