Singer Natalie Cole dead at 65 – media reports

Nine-time Grammy-winning singer Natalie Cole dies at the age of 65, following complications from a kidney transplant and Hepatitis C.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (NBC) – Grammy-winning singer Natalie Cole, the daughter of Nat King Cole, has died at the age of 65, her family said on Friday (January 1).

The family’s statement said Cole died on Thursday (December 31) night at Cedar Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles from “ongoing health issues.”

The TMZ celebrity news website said Cole, who worked in the R&B, soul and pop genres, died from congestive heart failure following complications from a kidney transplant and Hepatitis C, diagnosed in 2008.

“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.”

Cole, who had struggled with drug problems in the past, broke out in 1975 with the hit “This Will Be,” which won the Grammy for best R&B female performance and also earned her the Grammy for best new artist.

Her career reached the superstar level in 1991 when she recorded “Unforgettable … With Love,” an album of songs related to her father, the silky-voiced singer who was one of the most popular performers of the 1940s and ’50s but died before his daughter began her solo career.

Using technology that was cutting edge at the time, studio engineers merged her voice with her father’s in the song “Unforgettable,” which had been a hit for Nat King Cole in 1951. The result was a moving, sentimental No. 1 hit 40 years later, that actually sounded as if the two were singing a duet.

The song, and the album it came from earned Cole three Grammy Awards.

“I thank my dad for leaving me such a wonderful, wonderful heritage,” Cole said in accepting her awards.

In all, she won nine Grammys.

“#NatalieCole, sister beloved & of substance and sound. May her soul rest in peace. #Inseperable,” the Rev. Jessie Jackson posted on Twitter.

“#NatalieCole.. Condolences to family. What an incredible woman, a loving. joyful & peaceful soul. Rest in peace,” Democratic strategist Donna Brazile said in another tweet.