Singer Natalie Cole Dies at 65: "Our Beloved Mother and Sister Will be Greatly Missed"
"Natalie fought a fierce, courageous battle, dying how she lived ... with dignity, strength and honor."
Natalie Cole, the singer and songwriter best known for the songs “Unforgettable," “Inseparable" and "This Will Be," has died, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. She was 65.
Publicist Maureen O'Connor said that Cole, the daughter of the late legendary performer Nat King Cole, died Thursday night at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles due to "complications from ongoing health issues."
Her family released a statement:
“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. Our beloved Mother and sister will be greatly missed and remain UNFORGETTABLE in our hearts forever.”
Cole's mother was the late singer Maria Hawkins Cole.
Natalie Cole received a kidney transplant in May 2009 and had battled Hepatitis C. Through the years, she struggled with drug addiction.
Her 1991 jazz album Unforgettable ... With Love, featuring numerous standards sung by her father, sold 14 million copies.
The album reached the top of the Billboard 200 album chart on July 27, 1991. It featured a duet ("Unforgettable") with her father.
Unforgettable ... With Love won multiple Grammys, including the 1992 Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Traditional Pop Vocal Performance, Song of the Year, Arrangement Accompanying Vocals and Producer of the Year honors.
The Recording Academy released the following statement on the passing of Cole:
We are very saddened to learn of the passing of one of music’s most celebrated and iconic women, Natalie Cole. A nine-time Grammy winner and MusiCares Person of the Year honoree in 1993, Natalie followed her legendary father into the music business with magnificent hits like “Inseparable,” “This Will Be” and “Unforgettable,” achieving multiplatinum, worldwide success in her own right. We’ve lost a wonderful, highly cherished artist and our heartfelt condolences go out to Natalie’s family, friends, her many collaborators, as well as to all who have been entertained by her exceptional talent.
Celebrities shared their sorrow over the news on social media:
In college, I named my bass guitar Natalie! As a young stand up comic I opened for Natalie Cole. She was all that, in all ways! [ RIP ]— Arsenio Hall (@ArsenioHall) Jan. 1, 2016
No one is ever ready for the heaviness to your heart when you lose someone you love. The angels have my sister Natalie Cole now...— Star Jones (@StarJonesEsq) Jan. 1, 2016
I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Natalie Cole, as I have cherished the long… https://t.co/AgJeDD2tuk— Tony Bennett (@itstonybennett) Jan. 1, 2016