Singer Natalie Cole dies
Daughter of legend Nat King Cole carved out her own successful career
Natalie Cole, the daughter of jazz legend Nat King Cole, who carved out her own success with R&B hits like “Our Love” and “This Will Be” before triumphantly intertwining their legacies to make his “Unforgettable” their signature hit through technological wizardry, has died. She was 65.
While Cole was a Grammy winner in her own right, she had her greatest success in 1991 when she re-recorded her father's classic hits - with him on the track - for the album “Unforgettable ... With Love.” It became a multiplatinum smash and garnered her multiple Grammy Awards, including album of the year.
Cole died Thursday evening at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles due to complications from ongoing health issues, her family said in a statement.
“Natalie fought a fierce, courageous battle, dying how she lived ... with dignity, strength and honour. Our beloved Mother and sister will be greatly missed and remain UNFORGETTABLE in our hearts forever,” read the statement from her son Robert Yancy and sisters Timolin and Casey Cole.
“I had to hold back the tears. I know how hard she fought,” said Aretha Franklin in a statement. “She fought for so long. She was one of the greatest singers of our time.”
Other celebrities honoured Cole on social media. In a tweet, actress Marlee Matlin called Cole a lovely songbird and a great actress, writing “she is now singing in heaven.” Patti LaBelle tweeted, “She will be truly missed but her light will shine forever!”
Natalie Cole had battled drug problems and hepatitis that forced her to undergo a kidney transplant in May 2009. Cole's older sister, Carol “Cookie” Cole, died the day she received the transplant. Their brother, Nat Kelly Cole, died in 1995.
Natalie Cole was inspired by her dad at an early age and auditioned to sing with him when she was just 11 years old. She was 15 when he died of lung cancer, in 1965.
She began as an R&B singer but later gravitated toward the smooth pop and jazz standards that her father loved. Cole's greatest success came with her 1991 album, “Unforgettable ... With Love,” which paid tribute to her father with reworked versions of some of his best-known songs.