Natalie Cole diagnosed with Hepatitis C

The virus is linked to previous drug use

Pic:PA Photos
Natalie Cole said today (July 16) that she has been diagnosed with Hepatitis C.

The virus was discovered during a routine medical exam, and is likely a result of the Grammy-winning singer's drug use many years ago.

"I've been so fortunate to have learned so much from my past experiences," Cole said in a statement.

"I am embraced by the love and support of my family and friends; I am committed to my belief in myself and in my abiding faith to meet this challenge with a heartfelt optimism and determination. This is how I intend to deal with this current challenge in my life."

Cole's doctor said that she is responding well to anti-viral medication and the problem may clear up over time.

They believe it should not interfere with the September 9 release of her new album 'Still Unforgettable'.

--By our Los Angeles staff.
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