Roberta Flack has been diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease and can no longer sing.
In a statement, manager Suzanne Koga announced that the Grammy Award-winning artist has been battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
“(The disease) has made it impossible to sing and not easy to speak,” she said. “But it will take a lot more than ALS to silence this icon.”
The news comes ahead of the premiere of Roberta, a documentary about the singer’s life, at the DOC NYC film festival in New York City on Thursday night.
Reflecting on the project, Flack shared that she hopes it will inspire a new generation of talent.
“I have long dreamed of telling my story to children about that first green piano that my father got for me from the junkyard in the hope that they would be inspired to reach for their dreams,” the 85-year-old commented. “I want them to know that dreams can come true with persistence, encouragement from family and friends, and most of all belief in yourself.”
Roberta Flack, known for the songs “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” and “Killing Me Softly with His Song,” suffered a stroke in 2016.