Roberta Flack has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as motor neurone disease, her representatives have confirmed.
The four time Grammy award winning singer was diagnosed with this disease, and can no longer sing.
Motor neurone disease is an illness which breaks down cells in the spinal cord and brain. This sadly leads to progressive paralysis and death.
Along with winning four Grammy Awards, Flack is also known for several hits including ‘Killing Me Softly With His Song’.
As well as being awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020, Roberta Flack also became the first artist to win two consecutive Record of the Year awards in the 1970s, for ‘First Time I Saw Your Face’ and ‘Killing Me Softly With His Song’ in 1973 and 1974 respectively.
“a lot more than ALS”
Confirming the unfortunate news in a statement, representatives for Roberta Flack has said that this is a disease which has “has made it impossible to sing and not easy to speak”.
They also insisted, “But it will take a lot more than ALS to silence this icon”.
It was also confirmed that a documentary about Flack’s life would be released in New York next week. The singer is also releasing a children’s book in January.
Following news regarding her diagnosed, many fans of the singer have taken to Twitter to pay tribute to Roberta Flack.
“Tragically, Roberta Flack has lost her ability to sing due to ALS. Her legendary voice was a gift to all those who heard it”, one person wrote.
“What’s remarkable is her willingness to be open about her illness, given the culture of silence around disability and ableism in the Black community”.
Tragically, Roberta Flack has lost her ability to sing due to ALS. Her legendary voice was a gift to all those who heard it.
What’s remarkable is her willingness to be open about her illness, given the culture of silence around disability and ableism in the Black community. pic.twitter.com/4mBNumLo4o
— Ola Ojewumi (@Olas_Truth) November 15, 2022
“I’ve known about Roberta Flack’s diagnosis for a while now, but that wasn’t my information to make public. My prayers are with her and her family right now. Such a wonderful, kind person. Her catalog never gets discussed and dissected the way it should and deserves to be”, writer Chris Williams added.