Natalie Cole, the R&B singer who blossomed into the music business following the footsteps of her legendary father and overcoming battles with substance abuse has died. She was 65.
The daughter of music icon Nat “King” Cole who once top the charts with hits like “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)”, “Unforgettable” and “Our Love” died Thursday night at Cedar Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles “due to complications from ongoing health issues,” according to a statement from her family.
“It is with heavy hearts that we bring to you all the news of our Mother and sister’s passing. Natalie fought a fierce, courageous battle, dying how she lived … with dignity, strength and honor,” her sisters, Timolin Cole and Casey Cole, and son, Robert Yancy, said in the statement. “Our beloved Mother and sister will be greatly missed and remain unforgettable in our hearts forever.”
The cause of death was reportedly congestive heart failure, according to New York Daily News.
Cole recently had to cancel planned tour stops, over the last three months — including one in Louisville, due to a recurrence of hepatitis C linked to her earlier drug abuse, New York Daily News reported. Cole even received a kidney transplant in 2009 after developing hepatitis. She had a variety of health problems, according to her publicist Maureen O’Connor.
Cole won nine Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year in 1992 for “Unforgettable … With Love”, a virtual duet made with her late father. The album sold 14 million copies and won six Grammys.
Cole had just turned 15 when Nat “King” Cole died of lung cancer in 1965 at age 45 — before launching her own solo recording career.
She also made guest appearances on TV’s “Touched by an Angel” and “Grey’s Anatomy” and was nominated for an Emmy in 1992 for a televised performance of her father’s songs, told NBC News. Still, no acting roles eclipse her love and passion for music.
“I still love recording and still love the stage,” she said on her website in 2008, “but like my dad, I have the most fun when I am in front of that glorious orchestra or that kick-butt big band.”