‘Killing Me Softly’ singer Roberta Flack has ALS that makes it ‘impossible to sing’
“Killing Me Softly” singer Roberta Flack has ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, her publicist announced Monday.
The progressive neurodegenerative disease, whose full name is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, “has made it impossible to sing and difficult to speak,” Elaine Schock said in a press release.
Almost coinciding with the 85-year-old’s health announcement, “Roberta,” a documentary about Flack’s life and career, premieres Thursday at DOC NYC, the largest documentary film festival in the United States. The documentary will be available online November 18-27 and premieres January 24 on PBS as part of the American Masters series.
The “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” singer suffered a stroke in 2016 and went through a bout of COVID-19 last January. Though she recovered enough from the stroke to perform at Lincoln Center in July 2017, she has not performed live since, telling People magazine in February, “I hope to see my fans in person soon.”
ALS will likely prevent that. The disease causes the motor neurons that control muscle movement to degenerate, the ALS Assn. says on his website.
“When the motor neurons die, the brain can no longer initiate and control muscle movements. As voluntary muscle action becomes increasingly impaired, people can lose the ability to speak, eat, move and breathe,” the website reads.
Nonetheless, Schock said the singer plans to remain active in music and other creative pursuits, such as releasing on January 10 a children’s book she co-wrote that tells the story of how her music career began, “The Green Piano : How Little I Found Music.”
“Her steadfastness and joyful embrace of the music that propelled her from humble beginnings into the international spotlight remains vibrant and inspired,” the press release reads. “Through her Roberta Flack Foundation, she continues to pursue charitable and educational initiatives. Roberta knows firsthand that music has the power to uplift, inspire and transform.”
Stephen Hawking is one of the most well-known ALS patients who is living much longer than doctors expected. The famous cosmologist, who died in 2018 at the age of 76, lived more than five decades after his diagnosis.
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/music/story/2022-11-14/roberta-flack-als-diagnosis-cannot-sing ‘Killing Me Softly’ singer Roberta Flack has ALS that makes it ‘impossible to sing’