I am a scientist who studies brain diseases. Now I’m a lock-in, living with one of them: Lou Gehrig’s disease.
She won four Grammy Awards out of her 14 nominations, according to the Recording Academy’s website. She won the Record of the Year award two years in a row, in 1973 and 1974. She was the first artist to win the award back-to-back, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
“Killing Me Softly With His Song” charged back into the music scene when the Fugees covered the song. Their version won the 1997 Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
The Recording Academy’s National Trustees presented Flack with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020.
Flack was an important voice for Quiet Storm, which was a radio format that started in DC and played smooth R&B aimed at Black listeners. According to a Howard alumni website, she attended Howard University at age 15 on a music scholarship.
Word of her ALS diagnosis drew love from fans online. “I *just* went through Roberta Flack’s catalog and I have a few of her albums on vinyl, but I don’t think she gets the credit she deserves at all. She has been a force for a long time,” one fan tweeted.
I *just* went through Roberta Flack’s catalog and I have a few of her albums on vinyl, but I don’t think she gets the credit she deserves at all. She has been a force for a long time.
— William C. (@williamcson) November 14, 2022
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, causes nerve cells to slow down and die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A lack of functioning nerve cells robs people of the ability to activate specific muscles, including the muscles around the lungs and mouth along with the vocal cords themselves, according to the ALS Association.
Like most non-communicable diseases, ALS cases are not reported to federal health officials, so the CDC conducts surveys to study its incidence. The latest survey was published in 2017 and found that there were between nearly 18,000 and 31,000 cases of ALS in the United States.
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The announcement from Flack’s manager included details about a documentary called “Roberta” that was set to premiere Thursday at the DOC NYC Film Festival at the SVA Theater in Manhattan.
“Flack plans to remain active in her musical and creative pursuits,” her manager wrote. Flack has her own foundation that educates and mentors girls.
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