The family of Natalie Cole have revealed that she died of heart failure brought on by a rare lung disease.
Cole was first diagnosed with diopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH), a rare lung disease, shortly after undergoing a kidney transplant in 2009.
“This is a very serious and progressive disorder,” Cole’s family said in a statement to the Associated Press. “[Cole] responded well to pulmonary arterial hypertension-specific agents over many years, during which she performed many concerts worldwide, but eventually succumbed to intractable right heart failure, an outcome that unfortunately commonly occurs in this progressive disorder.”
The singer passed away on December 31 at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She was 65.
The death was announced by her publicist Maureen O’Connor, followed by a statement from her son, Robert Yancy, and sisters Timolin and Casey Cole. The statement read: “Natalie fought a fierce, courageous battle, dying how she lived… with dignity, strength and honour. Our beloved mother and sister will be greatly missed and remain UNFORGETTABLE in our hearts forever.”
The Grammy-winning artist – the daughter of Nat King Cole – whose hits include ‘Unforgettable’, ‘Our Love’ and ‘This Will Be’ had battled drug problems in the past and spent six months in rehab in 1983, a topic which Cole had written frankly about in her 2000 memoir ‘Angel On My Shoulder’. She was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 2008, and in May 2009 underwent a kidney transplant.
Cole was born in 1950 to Nat King Cole and his wife, Maria Ellington Cole. She made her recording debut in 1975 with ‘Inseparable’, earning her two Grammy awards. However, her greatest success came with 1991 album ‘Unforgettable… With Love’. The album paid tribute to her late father, and saw Cole rework some of his best-known songs, including ‘Too Young’, ‘Mona Lisa’ and ‘Unforgettable’. The album sold 14 million copies and won six Grammys, including album of the year.