It’s with great sadness that we relay the news that the American singer and entertainer Natalie Cole has died at the age of 65.
Cole, the daughter of the great Nat ‘King’ Cole, has suffered with poor health in recent years; in the earlier part of her hugely successful career, she had recovered from drug addiction. She had cancelled various engagements during December due to illness, and is being reported to have died of congestive heart failure on New Year’s Eve. She contracted Hepatitis C in 2008, and her latter-day health issues were largely attributed to kidney disease.
Born in Los Angeles in 1950, Natalie recorded a duet with Nat when she was just six years old, and performed with him on his TV show at the age of 11. She made a sensational start to her own recording career in 1975, showing her prowess as a jazz-pop singer on the US top ten hit ‘This Will Be.’ The song won a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and helped her to win the Best New Artist Grammy at the same awards.
Further Grammy glory arrived later, with the massive success of Unforgettable…With Love, the 1991 album which sold seven million copies in the US alone and won Album of the Year. Its ‘Unforgettable’ single, an electronic duet with her father, was named both Record of the Year and Best Traditional Pop Performance.
In 1994, she won Best Jazz Vocal Performance for the Take A Look album and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for another “duet” with Nat, ‘When I Fall In Love’; the last of no fewer than nine Grammys was Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for 2008’s Still Unforgettable.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson has tweeted: “Natalie Cole, sister beloved and of substance and sound. May her soul rest in peace.” Entertainer Arsenio Hall wrote: “As a young stand-up comic, I opened for Natalie Cole. She was all that, in all ways!”
In a statement, her son Robert Yancy and sisters Timolin and Casey Cole said: “Natalie fought a fierce, courageous battle, dying how she lived…with dignity, strenth and honour. Our beloved mother and sister will be greatly missed and remain UNFORGETTABLE in our hearts forever.”