NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - Over the years, Natalie Cole has been open about her health challenges and struggles with addiction, but it was a shock to many around the world that she passed away Thursday night at the age of the 65. Cole had an incredible career and while her father was an icon, the legacy that she’s left is all her own.
The daughter of singer Nat King Cole, Natalie Cole got an early start recording a duet with her father at age six. While her father passed away when she was just 15 years old, Natalie Cole’s career built upon her father’s stardom while establishing herself as an artist in her own right, releasing hits including “This Will Be”, and “I’ve Got Love on my Mind”.
After struggling with drug addiction for years, Cole rebounded in the 80's and then released the groundbreaking album “Unforgettable...With Love” in 1991, recording a virtual duet with her father singing his song “Unforgettable”.
Cole suffered from kidney complications resulting from Hepatitis C, which she said was contracted as a result of drug use. In 2009 she received a kidney transplant, but she reportedly suffered from health complications recently, forcing her to cancel numerous performances. Cole won 9 Grammy Awards and today, stars including Patti Labelle, Cher, and Tony Bennett remembered Cole on social media, while her fans reacted to the news and paid tribute to the legend.
Cole is survived by her son, and today her family released a statement saying “...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.”