UPDATE: 12:30 p.m. EST — A representative of Natalie Cole released the following statment to TMZ: “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.”
“This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” singer Natalie Cole is dead at the age of 65. Cole reportedly died of congestive heart failure at a Los Angeles hospital.
The singer and songwriter, best known for her performances of songs such as “Inseparable,” “Pink Cadillac” and “Unforgettable,” was the daughter of the singers Nat King Cole and Maria Hawkins Cole. She was recently struggling with health issues, which resulted in her canceling some tours. TMZ broke the news of her death Friday.
Cole struggled with drug addiction in the 1980s and learned in 2008 that she had hepatitis C.
“I was a heroin addict, sharing needles with the crowd I was with,” she told People magazine in 2008. “At the time, I was having fun. I didn’t know. Then, 25 years later after a routine blood test, my doctor tells me, ‘You have hepatitis C.’ My life crumbled before my eyes. I never had symptoms. I didn’t know anything about it. Would I still have a career? Was I going to die? How long did I have? I was devastated. I had to let it sink in for six weeks while they ran more tests.”
The singer ended up receiving chemotherapy and taking an antiviral drug called Ribavirin. However, she also had issues with kidney failure. In 2009, she received a kidney transplant from an organ donor, a deceased fan.
Cole’s health issues hadn’t made headlines in recent years, but SFGate reported in October that she had canceled all her November and December tour dates after a medical procedure required an “extended hospital stay.”
The Rev. Jesse Jackson commented on Cole’s death through Twitter:
— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) January 1, 2016
Cole was nominated for numerous Grammy Awards over the years, winning her first in 1976 for Best New Artist and Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female. The following year, she landed another award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female, for her song “Sophisticated Lady.” In 1992, she was able to recreate her Grammy magic by pulling in three awards: Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Traditional Pop Performance. The last Grammy she won was in 2009 for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for “Still Unforgettable.” Although she was still touring until her death, her last album release was in 2013 with “Natalie Cole en Espanol.”
The Recording Academy, and other celebrities and friends of Cole shared their condolences via Twitter:
Our deepest sympathies to the family, friends, & fans of nine-time GRAMMY winner Natalie Cole. pic.twitter.com/WvcduvBUJo
— The GRAMMYs (@TheGRAMMYs) January 1, 2016
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) January 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) January 1, 2016
Taking a moment in the new year: RIP Ms. Natalie Cole
— Kristin Chenoweth (@KChenoweth) January 1, 2016
So Sad!!!!!!!! RIP Ms. Cole https://t.co/wLtpsYMtmW
— Audra McDonald (@AudraEqualityMc) January 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) January 1, 2016
I am so sad to hear about Natalie Cole's passing. I feel she has always been apart of my life in… https://t.co/bbmQGfkGwe
— Jordin Sparks (@JordinSparks) January 1, 2016
Song for the day: "Everlasting Love" by the one and only Natalie Cole RIP
— Carnie Wilson (@CarnieWilson) January 1, 2016
What a shock to hear of this dear sister Natalie's passing.One thing I KNOW, She's w/ GOD in heaven! #❤️always pic.twitter.com/jEd8pduBrA
— Pebbles (@pebbles2day) January 1, 2016
— Vivica A. Fox (@MsVivicaFox) January 1, 2016
My heart is full today Natalie Cole died today... Rest in Peace my friend
— Beverly Johnson (@BeverlyJohnson1) January 1, 2016
Cole is survived by her son, singer Robert Adam Yancy.