January 1, 2106
Natalie Cole Dead
Natalie Cole passed away Thursday at the age of 65.
The singing legend, known for such hits as This Will Be and the Grammy-winning duet Unforgettable with her father Nat King Cole, died from congestive heart failure according to TMZ.
She had been forced to cancel a number of recent concert appearances due to health problems, including one scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Disney Hall in Los Angeles.
Cole leaves behind a son, Robert Yancy, from her first marriage to producer Marvin Yancy.
She suffered from a number of health problems over the past decade, including liver disease and Hepatitis C, for which she received chemotherapy in 2008.
Cole wrote about learning she had Hepatitis C in her 2000 memoir Angel on My Shoulder, the result, she said, of a drug addiction in the 80s and sharing dirty needles.
It is being reported that complications from that disease also played a role in her death.
‘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,’ Cole’s son Robert said in a statement.
‘Our beloved Mother and sister will be greatly missed and remain UNFORGETTABLE in our hearts forever.’
Cole’s father was one of the most famous jazz singers and pianists in the world when she was born in 1950 in Los Angeles while her mother, Maria Hawkins Ellington, was also a noted singer, having performed with Duke Ellington.
Her father passed away in 1965 when she was just a teenager.
Cole always had a love for music, but did not begin performing until after she graduated from the University of
Massachusetts in 1972 with a degree in child psychology.
She began to sing at clubs performing mostly R&B numbers, and one day caught the eye of Yancy and Chuck Jackson, who approached her about recording an album.
She was quickly signed to Capitol Records, the same label as her father, and released her first album in 1975, Inseparable.
The album’s lead single, This Will Be, quickly became a hit and earned Cole a Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
That same year she also won the Best New Artist Grammy while her voice led many to compare her to another iconic singer – Aretha Franklin.
Cole would go on to win nine Grammy Awards over the course of her illustrious career.
She released eight albums in the first eight years of her career, working with Yancy on all of them, even after the two divorced in 1980.
Cole’s battle with drug addiction began soon after the pair divorced, and in 1983 she entered rehab to receive treatment.
NATALIE COLE DEAD
After some difficult years both personally and professionally, Cole rebounded with another hit album in 1987, Everlasting, which notably featured a cover of the Bruce Springsteen song Pink Cadillac.
She also remarried, tying the knot in 1989 with Andre Fischer, the drummer for the funk band Rufus.
Her biggest professional success however came in 1991 with the release of Unforgettable… with Love, an album that featured the singer covering standards previously performed by her father.
That album also featured the song Unforgettable, a interactive duet between Cole and her father.
Unforgettable… with Love went on to sell over 7million copies, and earned six Grammy Awards, including the big three: Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Record of the Year.
Cole would release nine more albums over the course of her career for a total of 21, and went back to covering standards in 2008 with Still Unforgettable, for which she received her ninth and final Grammy.
She divorced Fischer in 1995 and in 2001 married Kenneth Dupree, who she divorced three years later.
Cole also began to try her hand at acting in the late 90s, and over the next two decades made guest appearances on shows including Touched by an Angel, Grey’s Anatomy and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
She also starred in Livin’ for Love: The Natalie Cole Story, playing herself in the made-for-TV movie that aired on NBC in 2000 which was based on her memoir.
That same year she also appeared in the Kevin Kline film De-Lovely about the life of Cole Porter, performing the classic Ev’ry Time You Say Goodbye.
Tony Bennett was among those who paid tribute to Cole on Friday, with the singer writing; ‘I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Natalie Cole, as I have cherished the long friendship I had with her, her father Nat, and the family over the years.
‘Natalie was an exceptional jazz singer and it was an honor to have recorded and performed with her on several occasions. She was a lovely and generous person who will be greatly missed.’