By Walter Rutledge
Natalie Cole, chart-topping R&B singer, winner of nine Grammy Awards and daughter of the legendary singer, bandleader and television groundbreaker Nat (King) Cole died Thursday night at age 65. Cole, who had struggled with a variety of health issues in recent years, was forced to cancel a string of concert performances over the last three months after a recurrence of hepatitis C linked to her earlier drug abuse. The cause of death was reportedly congestive heart failure.
Cole’s 1975 debut album You won a Grammy for best female R&B performances as well as best new artist for This Will Be. She again won the R&B Grammy the next year for Sophisticated Lady. Her third album Unpredictable went platinum with the hit I’ve Got Love on My Mind and her fourth album, Thankful, contained the hit Our Love.
Natalie Cole & Nat King Cole – Unforgettable (Live At The Grammy Awards)
The 1991 album Unforgettable … With Love, her greatest artistic success, spent five weeks at No. 1 on the pop charts, sold more than 14 million copies worldwide and won six Grammy Awards. The album featured Unforgettable” — a virtual duet with her late father. Natalie was just 15 when her father died in 1965, a decade before his daughter launched her own solo recording career.
Cole struggled with substance abuse and was plagued with health problems, suffering from liver disease in 2008. She also underwent chemo for Hepatitis C. “Natalie Cole, sister beloved & of substance and sound. May her soul rest in peace,” tweeted the Rev. Jesse Jackson on New Year’s Day.