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Singer Natalie Cole Dead at 65

  • VOA News

FILE - Natalie Cole arrives at the 13th Annual Latin Grammy Awards at Mandalay Bay on Nov. 15, 2012, in Las Vegas.

FILE - Natalie Cole arrives at the 13th Annual Latin Grammy Awards at Mandalay Bay on Nov. 15, 2012, in Las Vegas.

Grammy award-winning singer Natalie Cole, the daughter of jazz legend Nat King Cole, is dead at the age of 65.

Cole died Thursday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from "ongoing health issues,” according to a family statement. The statement said Cole "fought a fierce, courageous battle, dying how she lived — with dignity, strength and honor."

In quoting her most identifiable song, the family also said, "Our beloved mother and sister will be greatly missed and remain UNFORGETTABLE in our hearts forever," putting the name of the song in capital letters.

Celebrity gossip website TMZ said Cole died from congestive heart failure, but that it had been told the underlying medical issues were complications from a kidney transplant and hepatitis C. Cole had struggled with drug and alcohol problems in the past and underwent a kidney transplant in 2009.

'Unforgettable' career

Natalie Cole began her career as an R&B singer and had hits that included the Grammy-winning song, "This Will Be."

Cole's career, however, reached superstar status when she recorded the 1991 album, Unforgettable...With Love, which paid tribute to her father, who died in 1965. The album included reworked versions of some of his best-known songs. The title song, "Unforgettable," featured Natalie Cole's voice spliced with her father's. Engineers used technology that was considered cutting edge at the time to make it appear as if father and daughter were singing a duet.

The song was a hit for Nat King Cole in 1951. The song and the album garnered several Grammy awards for Natalie Cole. In addition to R&B, Natalie Cole delved into pop and jazz music. Other hits included "Our Love" and the reworked "Pink Cadillac," a song originally by Bruce Springsteen.

Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson was among those paying tribute to Natalie Cole.

In a tweet, he described her as a "sister beloved ... of substance and sound. May her soul rest in peace."

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