Roberta Flack has ALS, now 'impossible to sing,' rep says

By -  iMediaBuzz Team

NEW YORK - A representative for Roberta Flack announced Monday that the Grammy-winning musician has ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, and can no longer sing.

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Flack's manager Suzanne Koga said in a release, "The progressing illness has made it impossible to sing and it has not been easy to speak." "But it will take a lot more than ALS to silence this icon."

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The amyotrophic lateral sclerosis diagnosis is announced just ahead of the premiere of "Roberta," a feature-length documentary that begins Thursday at the DOCNYC Film Festival.

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Flack is best known for hits such as "Killing Me Softly with His Song" and "The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face".

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She later rose to stardom after Clint Eastwood used it as the soundtrack for a love scene in his 1971 film "Play Misty for Me".

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The Grammy-winning singer and pianist, now 85, plans to "remain active in her musical and creative pursuits" through her eponymous foundation and other avenues, the release said.

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The documentary, directed by Antonino D'Ambrosio, will be available in competition at the festival and through DOCNYC's website for one week before airing on television on January 24 as part of PBS's "American Masters" series.

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"Horror! Horrible!" he said. "I'm trembling. I'm like a rock, I'm listless. It's my worst nightmare. I'm just this blow-up doll!

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Flack also plans to publish a children's book called "The Green Piano: How Little Me Found Music" that month, co-written with Tony Bolden.

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Born in North Carolina, raised in Virginia, Flack is the daughter of a pianist and classically trained herself — her talent earned her a full ride to Howard University at just 15 years old.

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