‘Unforgettable’ singer Natalie Cole dies at age 65
BY FLORIDA COURIER STAFF
Natalie Cole, the Grammy winning singer and daughter of the legendary Nat King Cole, died on New Year’s Eve at age 65.
Cole, who reportedly died of congestive heart failure, had battled health problems for years. Because of a recent illness, she had cancelled some tour dates scheduled in December and February.
For years, she had suffered with health problems, including liver disease in 2008 that led to a transplant at a Los Angeles hospital. She also contracted Hepatitis C, for which she underwent chemotherapy. She also had undergone dialysis treatment three times a week.
“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,” the family said in a statement obtained by both the Associated Press and TMZ.
During her career, she had won nine Grammy Awards.
In 1975, Cole released her debut album “Inseparable” and No. 1 song “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love).”
In 1991, she released the multiple Grammy winning album – “Unforgettable… With Love,” which sold more than six million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen Soundscan. A celebrated duet included her father’s voice on his signature song, “Unforgettable.’’ The album spent five weeks at No. 1 on the pop charts, earned six Grammy awards, and sold more than 14 million copies worldwide.
Cole also had been a spokeswoman for the University Kidney Research Organization, a nonprofit organization supporting medical research related to the prevention, treatment, and eradication of all form of kidney disease.
She was married three times and has one son, Robert Adam “Robbie” Yancy.
Here are some of the other highlights of Natalie Cole’s career, which appears on her official website.
- She rocketed to stardom in 1975 with her debut album, “Inseparable,” earning her a No. 1 single, “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” and her first two Grammy awards for Best New Artist and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance
- In 1977, Cole scored a No. 1 R&B hit with “I’ve Got Love on My Mind” from her third release, “Unpredictable,’’ which became her first platinum album. Cole continued her winning streak that same year with her fourth album, “Thankful,’’ which also went platinum and featured another signature hit, “Our Love.”
- The singer expanded her success with her own TV special in 1977. It was the first of more than 300 major television appearances in her career, including dramatic roles on “Law and Order” and “Touched by an Angel” as well as guest spots on talk shows with Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, and Larry King.
- In 1979, Cole was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- After overcoming personal challenges, Cole returned in peak form with 1987’s “Everlasting,” an album which garnered three hit singles: “Jump Start (My Heart),” the Top 10 ballad “I Live For Your Love,” and her dance-pop cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Pink Cadillac.”
- In 1996, Cole released a followup album of American standards, “Stardust,’’ which featured another duet with her father on “When I Fall in Love.” The album went platinum and won another Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.
- Subsequent albums, “Snowfall on the Sahara’’ (1999) and “Ask a Woman Who Knows’’ (2002), both merited the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Jazz Artist.
- Cole took home her ninth Grammy for 2008’s “Still Unforgettable,’’ which won for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. It also earned her a NAACP Award for Best Jazz Artist.
- In 2001, she starred as herself in “Livin’ for Love: the Natalie Cole Story,” based on her autobiography, “Angel on My Shoulder,’’ which detailed her harrowing journey to overcome drug addiction. She received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special. As an actress, she starred in director Delbert Mann’s “Lily in Winter” and co-starred with Laurence Fishburne and Cicely Tyson in Walter Mosley’s “Always Outnumbered.’’
- Cole released a second memoir in 2010 titled “Love Brought Me Back,” the heart-wrenching chronicle of her quest for a kidney transplant.