Roberta Flack Announces She Has ALS and Finds It ‘Impossible to Sing’

Roberta Flack’s manager announced that she has ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and can no longer sing.

The progressing illness “has made it impossible to sing and not easy to speak,” Flack manager Suzanne Koga said in a statement on Monday (November 14).

“But it will take a lot more than ALS to silence this icon,” she added.

This diagnosis will be announced shortly before the premiere Robert, a feature-length documentary at the DOC NYC Film Festival on Thursday (November 17).

The publication said the Grammy-winning pianist, now 85, “plans to remain active in her musical and creative endeavors.”

Flack is known for hits like “Killing Me Softly With His Song” and “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face,” the latter of which catapulted her to fame after Clint Eastwood used it as the soundtrack for a love scene in his 1971 film “Play Misty for me.”

The documentary, directed by Antonino D’Ambrosio, will be in competition at the festival and available on DOC NYC’s website for one week before airing on television on January 24, 2023 on PBS American Masters Series.

ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

When this area degenerates, it leads to scarring or hardening (“sclerosis”) of the area, according to

When motor neurons die, the brain can no longer initiate or control muscle movement. As voluntary muscle action becomes increasingly impaired, people can lose the ability to speak, eat, move, and breathe.

Additional reporting by agencies Roberta Flack Announces She Has ALS and Finds It ‘Impossible to Sing’


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