Roberta Flack, the legendary Grammy-winning musician and singer, has been left unable to sing after being diagnosed with ALS, a form of motor neurone disease.

The famed singer was diagnosed with “Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a condition that causes extreme muscle weakness and in advanced stages, the inability to speak, move and breathe”, her management team advised in a statement.

At 85 years of age the singer is reportedly having trouble speaking. She was first diagnosed with the degenerative disease last August, according to publicist Elaine Schock.

Flack’s ALS, which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, “has made it impossible to sing and not easy to speak,” her management continued in their statement.

There is currently no cure for ALS, with most patients requiring regular physiotherapy, speech therapy and dietetic advice upon falling ill, according to Brain Foundation Australia.

The singer’s publicist assures, “It will take a lot more than ALS to silence this icon.” According to Schock, Flack “plans to stay active in her musical and creative pursuits”, despite her illness.

Over the course of her career, Flack has won four Grammys and received 14 nominations. She is known for a slew of hit songs including Killing Me Softly With His Song, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, Feel Like Makin’ Love and Where Is the Love?.

Flack is now reportedly gearing up for the premiere of a documentary about her life, which will take place in New York next week, and also has plans to publish a children’s book in January.

Image: Getty Images

This article first appeared on OverSixty.