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A rep for Roberta Flack announced she has ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease and can no longer sing. The disease “has made it impossible to sing and not easy to speak,” Flack’s manager Suzanne Koga said in a release

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As a result of the disease, she is no longer able to sing, and it is difficult to speak, “but it will take a lot more than ALS to silence this icon.”

The news surrounding the 85-year-old’s health comes prior to the premiere of Roberta, a feature length documentary debuting on Thursday at the DOCNYC film festival.

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Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time the Grammy Award winner has made headlines pertaining to her health. In the start of the year, she caught COVID-19.

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In a statement shared on social media, she said, “I tested in early January and was told, ‘COVID-19 Positive.’ However, the vaccines and booster worked and protected me from severe illness or hospitalization. Instead, I was ill with fatigue, fever, and slight congestion. I stayed home to rest and recover. Today I feel much better. I am at home and isolating until I retest and receive a negative test this week. I can testify: vaccines and boosters work. If you are not vaccinated, please do so. They likely saved my life.”

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According to The Grio, she also suffered a stroke back in 2016, and spoke to The Associated Press a little over two years later about returning to performing.

“When asked if she’d sing one of her old hits at a then-upcoming event, she quickly retorted: ‘There’s no such thing as an old hit,’ preferring the term “classic” instead.

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Known for her No. 1 singles “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”, “Killing Me Softly with His Song”, Feel Like Makin’ Love”, and other duets, she is also noted for her influence of the subgenre of R&B called quiet storm. She is also the first artist to win the Grammy Award for Record of the Year in two consecutive years in 1973-1974.


A reissue of her fourth album, “Killing Me Softly,” will mark the 50th anniversary of her documentary’s television debut and book publication later in 2023, with the commemorative reissue under Rhino Records.

We are keeping Roberta Flack in our thoughts & prayers.


ALS Is Making It Impossible For Roberta Flack To Sing, Says Rep  was originally published on blackamericaweb.com