Roberta Flack has been left unable to sing after being diagnosed with ALS.
The 85-year-old star is best known for her hit song “Killing Me Softly with His Song” and has had a career in music since the late 1960s, but since being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) – a neuro-degenerative condition also known as motor neuron disease which affects the brain and nerves – she now finds it “impossible” to sing, according to her manager Suzanne Koga.
She said: “ALS has made it impossible to sing and not easy to speak. But it will take a lot more than ALS to silence this icon! But Roberta plans to stay active in her musical and creative pursuits.”
The news comes days before the “Feel Like Makin’ Love” songstress is due to premiere a self-titled documentary about her life on Thursday at the “DOC NYC” Film Festival.
“The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” hitmaker – who started playing piano at the age of 9, and was considered a child prodigy after being offered a music scholarship to Howard University at the age of 15 – also tells her story in the form of a children’s book because she wants the younger generation to know that “dreams can come true” with hard work and self-belief.
She said: “I have long dreamed of telling my story to children about that first green piano that my father got for me from the junk yard in the hope that they would be inspired to reach for their dreams.
“I want them to know that dreams can come true with persistence, encouragement from family and friends, and most of all belief in yourself.”