A representative for Roberta Flack announced Monday that the Grammy-winning musician has ALS, Known as Lou Gehrig’s diseaseAnd he could no longer sing.
Flak’s manager, Suzanne Koga, said in a statement that the advanced disease had “made it impossible to sing and not easy to speak.” “But it will take more than ALS to silence this code.”
The announcement of her 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 strikes Like “Killing Me Softly With His Song” and “The First Time I Saw Your Face,” which catapulted her to stardom after Clint Eastwood used it as the soundtrack to a love scene in his 1971 film “Play Misty for Me.” “
The Grammy-winning singer and pianist, 85, says the release “plans to remain active in her musical and creative endeavors” 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 Jan. 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 Me,” that month. North Carolina-born, Virginia-raised Flack is the daughter of pianists and is classically trained herself—her talent won her a full trip to Howard University at just 15 years old.
“I have always dreamed of telling children my story about the first green piano my father brought me from the junkyard in the hopes that it would inspire them to reach for their dreams,” Flack is 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 believing in yourself.”
The premiere of the TV documentary and book publication begins in 2023, which will also see the 50th anniversary of her fourth studio album, Killing Me Softly, celebrated with a re-release. Her label for the first three decades of her career, Atlantic Records, is also celebrating its 75th anniversary.
Flack suffered a stroke in 2016 and He spoke to the Associated Press After just over two years he’s about to return to performing. When asked if she would be singing one of her old songs at an upcoming event at the time, she quickly replied, “There’s no such thing as an oldie,” preferring the term “classic” instead.
“I can sing any number of songs that I’ve recorded over the years, and easily, I can sing them, but I’ll 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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