Roberta Flack, the rhythm and blues singer known for evergreen hits like Killing Me Softly With His Song, has been diagnosed with a nerve disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), her publicist said on Monday in a statement. It means that the 85-year-old Grammy-winning singer will no longer be able to sing.  

According to the statement from her publicist, ALS “has made it impossible to sing and not easy to speak,” and added, “But it will take a lot more than ALS to silence this icon.”

Also read: Who is Lainey Wilson, country star debuted in Yellowstone Season 5 premiere?

However, the statement also added that Roberta Flack “plans to stay active in her musical and creative pursuits.” A documentary film on her life, called Roberta, is set to release on Thursday at DOCNYC. She also has a children’s book lined up for release in 2023.

Flack fell ill and had to leave the stage while appearing at a benefit at the Apollo Theatre back in 2018. After treatment at the Harlen Hospital Center, her manager said that she was “doing fine” and was kept on overnight observation. It was revealed then that Flak had suffered a stroke a year back and it continued to have an effect on her body.

Also read: Armaan Malik wins ‘Best India Act’ award at MTV EMAs 2022

ALS is a disease of the nervous system that develops progressively breaking down nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Slowly the muscles slug and stop working, eventually leading to paralysis and death. Figures such as Stephen Hawking, Lou Gehrig and Charles Mingus have battled ALS. 

In the 1970s, Flack had a number of No. 1 singles and also released 20 studio albums. In 2020, she received a lifetime achievement award in addition to her four previous Grammys.

The singer also made history by becoming the first performer to win two consecutive awards for record of the year in 1973 and 1974, respectively, for “First Time I Ever Saw Your Face” and “Killing Me Softly with His Song.”