'Unforgettable' singer Natalie Cole dead at 65

Fri Jan 1, 2016 7:32pm EST
 
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By Bill Trott

(Reuters) - Grammy-winning singer Natalie Cole, whose biggest hit came in a virtual duet with her late father, pop legend Nat King Cole, of his decades-old hit "Unforgettable," has died at the age of 65, her family said on Friday.

The family's statement said Cole died on Thursday night at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles from "ongoing health issues."

Cole's career spanned five decades in the R&B, soul, jazz and pop genres. In 2015, she had canceled appearances citing medical reasons.

"It is with heavy hearts that we bring to you all the news of our Mother and sister's passing," the Cole family statement said. "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 statement was signed by Cole's only child, Robert Yancey, and her twin sisters, Timolin and Casey Cole.

Tributes quickly poured in for Cole, with singer Tony Bennett saying on Instagram he was "deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Natalie Cole, as I have cherished the long friendship I had with her, her father Nat, and the family over the years."

Bennett added: "Natalie was an exceptional jazz singer and it was an honor to have recorded and performed with her on several occasions."

  Continued...

 
Natalie Cole poses backstage after winning Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for "Still Unforgettable" at the 51st annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, in this file picture taken February 8, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni