Natalie Cole — the Grammy-winning singer whose hits included a cover of “Unforgettable” and “Pink Cadillac” — has died at age 65. Her rep told CNN that Cole died Thursday, December 31. TMZ was first to report the news.
"It is with heavy hearts that we bring to you all the news of our Mother and sister's passing," Cole's family said in a statement to Us Weekly. "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."
"Natalie possessed one of those magical voices that grabbed you from the first note. It could sound like honey, but when she wanted to belt, she could keep up with the best of them," Ken Ehrlich, the executive producer of the Grammy awards, told Us in a statement. "In a way, and not just in lineage, Natalie was the connector between the great singers of her father and Ella's generation, and the great female voices who were to dominate in the last 25 years."
Back in October, the songstress canceled a series of concert dates that had been set for November and December. A statement released by the San Francisco Symphony, with whom she was scheduled to perform, cited “a medical procedure which precipitated a lengthy hospital stay” for the cancellations.
Cole, the daughter of musician Nat King Cole, rose to fame in the ‘70s. But her career started to slump in the early ‘80s due to her battles with drug addiction. But she started to make her comeback with her 1987 album, Everlasting, which included the hits “Pink Cadillac,” “Jump Start (My Heart)” and others.
Her 1991 award-winning album Unforgettable … With Love became a best seller, and featured the singer singing tunes her dad had recorded, including a father-daughter duet of “Unforgettable.” (Nat King Cole died at age 45 in 1965.)
The star suffered several health issues during her lifetime. She was diagnosed with Hepatitis C, which she had said she believed she contracted from her intravenous heroin use in the ’80s, and required a kidney transplant in 2009.
Shortly after news of her death broke, Rev. Jesse Jackson tweeted a sweet photo of the songstress as a young girl singing at the piano.
Other celebrities have also taken to social media to mourn the star after news of her death broke.
Cole, is survived by her son, Robert Adam Yancy, and sisters Timolin and Casey Cole.
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