Roberta Flack, the soulful voice behind the hits “Killing Me Softly With His Song” has been diagnosed with ALS, aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
The American singer, 85, can no longer sing and has trouble speaking as a result of the disease, according to Flack’s rep.
The announcement of the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis diagnosis comes just ahead of the premiere of Roberta, a feature-length documentary debuting Thursday at the DOCNYC film festival.
Flack is known for hits like Killing Me Softly With His Song and The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face, the latter of which catapulted her into stardom after Clint Eastwood used it as the soundtrack for a love scene in his 1971 movie Play Misty for Me.
Flack also plans to publish a children’s book co-written with Tonya Bolden, “The Green Piano: How Little Me Found Music,” that month.
The North Carolina-born, Virginia-raised Flack is the daughter of pianists. Her talent won her a full ride to Howard University at just 15.
In 2016, Flack had a stroke and spoke to The Associated Press a little over two years later about returning to performing.
“I could sing any number of songs that I´ve recorded through the years, easily, I could sing them, but I´m going to pick those songs that move me,” Flack said. “Now that´s hard to do. To be moved, to be moved constantly by your own songs.”