R&B Icon Ever Roberta Flack Can No Longer Sing Due to Her ALS
Her manager revealed on November 14 that R&B legend Roberta Flack, known for songs like “Killing Me Softly with His Song” and “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” had been diagnosed with ALS and was thereafter unable to perform. According to AP News, Flack’s manager Suzanne Koga stated that the neurological disease “has rendered it impossible to sing and not easy to speak,” but that “it will take a lot more than ALS to silence this icon.”
Flack, now 85 years old, shot to popularity in the late 1960s and early 1970s thanks to her three number one singles “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” “Killing Me Softly With His Song,” and “Feel Like Makin’ Love.” A four-time Grammy winner, she made history by becoming the first artist to win record of the year back-to-back (in 1973 and 1974). Since then, only U2 and Billie Eilish have accomplished the feat. After being honoured with a lifetime achievement award by the National Trustees of the Recording Academy in 2020, Flack is now working on a children’s book, which she hopes to release in the new year. The Washington Post says that a documentary on her life, titled “Roberta,” will premiere next week.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a disease that affects nerve cells throughout the body, causing them to cease working and eventually die. The nerves affected by ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) “lose the ability to trigger specific muscles,” the CDC explains, “which causes the muscles to become weak and leads to paralysis.”. Walking difficulties, weakness, clumsiness, cognitive problems, and trouble speaking have all been reported by persons with ALS, as reported by the Mayo Clinic.
Treatments including as medicine and physical therapy can help slow the progression of ALS, but there is currently no known cure. Although nationwide data of the disease are not kept, a 2017 report suggested that between 18,000 and 31,000 Americans were living with ALS at that time.
Despite the challenges ALS presents, Flack is pushing through with her current endeavours. “Flack plans to stay active in her musical and creative pursuits” as per her management.