Natalie Cole dead at 65

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Singer Natalie Cole Dies at Age 65

Natalie Cole, the Grammy-winning daughter of Nat "King" Cole who carried on her late father's musical legacy and, through technology, shared a duet with him on "Unforgettable," has died. She was 65.

READ MORE: People we lost in 2015

Natalie died Thursday evening (Dec. 31) at Cedar Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles due to compilations from ongoing health issues, her family said in a statement.

"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," read the statement from her son Robert Yancy and sisters Timolin and Casey Cole.

See more of Natalie Cole through the years:

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Natalie Cole dead at 65
06/30/2005.gala.Natalie Cole performs one of threee songs at the gala. A black tie Inagural Gala was held this evening at the Dorothy chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles for Mayor elect Antonio Villaraigosa, who will be sworn in tomorrow. Dinner and dancing was held by the fountain outdoors in the huge fundraising affair. (Photo by Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 26: Recording Artist Natalie Cole performs atJazz 91.9 WCLK 41st Anniversary Benefit Concert at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center on June 26, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Moses Robinson/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 26: Recording Artist Natalie Cole performs atJazz 91.9 WCLK 41st Anniversary Benefit Concert at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center on June 26, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Moses Robinson/Getty Images)
BRENTWOOD, CA - JUNE 11: Recording artist Natalie Cole performs onstage during City Of Hope's 11th Annual 'Songs Of Hope' Event on June 11, 2015 in Brentwood, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/Getty Images for City of Hope)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Singer Natalie Cole attends Mercedes-Benz USA and African American Film Critics Association Academy Awards viewing party on February 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz USA)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 20: Natalie Cole attends Angel Ball 2014 hosted by Gabrielle's Angel Foundation at Cipriani Wall Street on October 20, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Gabrielle's Angel Foundation)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 11: Recording artists Johnny Mathis (L) and Natalie Cole attend the 2014 Carousel of Hope Ball presented by Mercedes-Benz at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 11, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 16: American singer Natalie Cole performs live during a concert at the Admiralspalast on July 16, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Frank Hoensch/Redferns via Getty Images)
CIRCA 1955: Singer Nat 'King' Cole and his daughter Natalie Cole pose for a portrait session in front of a Christmas tree in circa 1955. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
CIRCA 1955: Singer Nat 'King' Cole and his daughter Natalie Cole pose for a portrait session in front of a Christmas tree in circa 1955. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
CANADA - CIRCA 1900: Natalie Cole (Photo by Toronto Star Archives/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of Natalie Cole Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of Natalie Cole Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of Natalie Cole Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Publicity shots of the singer Natalie Cole, 1992. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)
American singer Natalie Cole, 1975. Daughter of Nat King Cole. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of Natalie Cole Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of Natalie Cole Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of Natalie Cole Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
HOLLYWOOD - FEBRUARY 19: Singer Natalie Cole and guests attending 19th Annual Grammy Awards on February 19, 1977 at Hollywood Palladium in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
1978 AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS - Gallery - Shoot Date: November 18, 1977. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) HOSTS DAVID SOUL AND NATALIE COLE
NEW YORK CITY - AUGUST 5: Singer Natalie Cole autographing new album 'Unforgettable With Love' on August 5, 1992 at Sam Goody's in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
NEW YORK CITY - AUGUST 5: Singer Natalie Cole autographing new album 'Unforgettable With Love' on August 5, 1992 at Sam Goody's in New York City, New York. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY Â FEB 25: Natalie Cole attends the 34th Annual Grammy Awards at Radio City Music Hall on Feb 25, 1992 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Platzer/Images/Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) e, Natalie *06.02.1950-Saengerin, USA- Konzert in der Philharmonie in Berlin- Mai 1992 (Photo by POP-EYE/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
Natalie Cole performs on stage at RAI Congrescentrum, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 10th May 1992. (Photo by Rob Verhorst/Redferns)
Portrait of singer Natalie Cole, 1993. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)
Singer/songwriter Natalie Cole, right, walks off stage after receiving "The Hitmaker's Award" from legendary vocalist Tony Bennett, at the Songwriter's Hall of Fame Wednesday, June 9, 1999, in New York. Cole is the daughter of the late vocalist Nat King Cole. (AP Photo/Stuart Ramson)
Natalie Cole's Grammy-winning compact disk, "Unforgettable," in its jewel box, right, is dwarfed by the "long box" packaging that it is currently available in at a New York music store, Thursday, February 27, 1992. The Recording Industry Association of America announced Thursday that it would adopt a new packaging standard that would eliminate the long box by April 1993 and instead make use of only the 5"x 5 1/2" jewel box. (AP Photo/Mark Phillips)
Ray Charles talks about Nat King Cole as Cole's daughter Natalie looks on backstage the 15th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Dinner Monday, March 6, 2000, at New York's Waldorf-Astoria. Ray Charles presented Nat King Cole's award to his three daughters. (AP Photo/Ed Betz)
Natalie Cole performs in a '70s afro wig during the "13th Annual Race to Erase M.S." fashion show/concert at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, Friday, May 12, 2006. The charity event was themed "Disco Fever to Erase M.S." (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Natalie Cole sings for Los Angeles Mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa during his inaugural gala in Los Angeles on Thursday, June 30, 2005. Villaraigosa is to be sworn in on Friday. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Tony Bennett, right, greets Natalie Cole with a kiss before they sang a duet with at a 106.7 Lite fm ?One Night With Lite? Concert at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2006 in New York. (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams)
U.S. jazz singer Natalie Cole performs during her concert at the Torwar arena in Warsaw, Poland, Monday, July 16, 2007. The concert was a part of the Warsaw Summer Jazz Days festival. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)
Natalie Cole arrives for the 49th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2007, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
Singer Natalie Cole attends the 2007 G&P Foundation 10th Annual Angel Ball at the Marriott Marquis, Moday, Oct. 29, 2007 in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)
Natalie Cole, who was recently treated for Hepatitis C, holds up a greeting card from actor/comedian George Lopez during a signing session for her new CD, "Still Unforgettable," at Borders Westwood in Los Angeles., Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Natalie Cole holds the best instrumental arrangement accompanying vocalist award backstage at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2009, in Los Angeles.(AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
Singer Natalie Cole performs at the LA Live entertainment complex holiday tree lighting ceremony in Los Angeles on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Dan Steinberg)
075207.CA.1220.baltin.cc Natalie Cole, was one of the maney articts performing at the Stevie Wonder's Eighth Annual House Full of Toys Benefite Concert held at The Forum Saturday night. (Photo by Carlos Chavez/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
American singer, and songwriter, Natalie Cole, 23rd October 1975. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
1978 AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS - Broadcast Coverage - Airdate: January 16, 1978. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) HOST NATALIE COLE
(GERMANY OUT) e, Natalie *06.02.1950-Saengerin, USA- Konzert in der Philharmonie in Berlin- Mai 1992 (Photo by POP-EYE/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
Natalie Maria Cole, an African-American singer, songwriter, and performer, and the daughter of Nat King Cole, on television with another person, mid to late twentieth century. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)
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On Friday, Jan. 1, Rev. Jesse Jackson shared his condolences for her loss on Twitter. "#NatalieCole, sister beloved & of substance and sound. May her soul rest in peace. #Inseperable," he wrote.

See reaction to the passing of Natalie Cole in the gallery below:

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Reaction to Natalie Cole's passing
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Natalie Cole dead at 65
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 01: The Apollo Theater Marquee in memory of Singer Natalie Cole dead at 65 on January 1, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 01: The Apollo Theater Marquee in memory of Singer Natalie Cole dead at 65 on January 1, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)
My heart is heavy with the loss longtime friend @NatalieCole. Her presence & talent will b missed. Good nights, Sis. https://t.co/zLKZ9ivvz3
NATALIE COLE …..A VOICE FROM HEAVEN HAS BEEN CALLED HOME
Sending prayers and condolences to all the loved ones of my friend #NatalieCole! She will be truly missed but her light will shine forever!
we will miss her like crazy https://t.co/GXROUGKGDL -
Song for the day: "Everlasting Love" by the one and only Natalie Cole RIP❤️❤️❤️😪😪😪
I am 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. Natalie was an exceptional jazz singer and it was an honor to have recorded and performed with her on several occasions. She was a lovely and generous person who will be greatly missed.
#NatalieCole, sister beloved & of substance and sound. May her soul rest in peace. #Inseperable https://t.co/zn7DArSMcG
R.I.P. #NatalieCole. Ironic to see this photo of @yolandaadams & #NatalieCole. I never shared this, but writing hits for @yolandaadams I got inspiration from the Natalie Cole & Marvin Yancy recordings. She will be missed...
Noo! Just heard the news that #NatalieCole just past away!! She was a beautiful lady with an amazing voice! #RIP #Unforgettable
So sad and hurt by my girl Natalie Cole. You are truly #Unforgettable 😢
#RIP Natalie Cole - world lost a great talent today.
Sweet dreams, #NatalieCole. You were #Unforgetable.
natalie cole ??? 😔 we lost a special voice today
Devastated at the loss of my close friend, #NatalieCole. Heaven has gained a TRUE angel. https://t.co/JsYhFCgnii
RIP @NatalieCole . You're father was one of my favorites and now you have left us as well. #inseperable https://t.co/PzB4fbqR3N
I am saddened by the news of the passing of my friend Natalie Cole. Lovely song bird (and great actress too) - she is now singing in heaven
Heaven just got a little brighter😢 RIP Natalie Cole. 👼🏾 https://t.co/CCbw4F6rY0
In college, I named my bass guitar Natalie! As a young stand up comic I opened for Natalie Cole. She was all that, in all ways! [ RIP ]
Rest in peace to the #Unforgettable Natalie Cole. Her musical legacy, both trailblazing & pioneering, will keep her spirit alive forever.
R.I.P to Natalie Cole....she is UNFORGETTABLE l!!
How I hope Natalie Cole and Whitney Houston greeted each other on the other side: https://t.co/La4ssnetDa
Not Natalie Cole. Please.
Hard to follow such an iconic father, but @NatalieCole perfected her own artistic genius. What a loss. Loved her.
Rest in peace Natalie Cole. Beautiful voice that will be missed.
Prayers & sympathy to her family, including Atlantans Freddy & Tracy. Natalie Cole, Grammy winning singer, has died https://t.co/p6rUNWzXeu
RIP @NatalieCole ... You did your daddy proud. Too young.
RIP Natalie Cole....may your family find peace knowing you are resting among the angels.
R.I.P. Ms Natalie Cole
R.I.P. Natalie Cole, you are Unforgettable and you will be missed. God speed #NatalieCole #Unforgettable https://t.co/DqKyWV3FtC
Ah man So sad! Loved her song, "I live for your love " Beautiful song from a great talent!Rip #NatalieCole 💔 https://t.co/hu4wHoSgOF
RIP to one of the best! Can you imagine Heaven now? Nat and #NatalieCole
We note the passing of #NatalieCole, and remember her with this performance: https://t.co/y35S2AQRay
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Cole had battled drug problems and hepatitis that forced her to undergo a kidney transplant in May 2009. Cole's older sister, Carol "Cookie" Cole, died the day she received the transplant. Their brother, Nat Kelly Cole, died in 1995.

Natalie Cole was inspired by her dad at an early age and auditioned to sing with him when she was just 11 years old. She was 15 when he died of lung cancer, in 1965.

She began as an R&B singer but later gravitated toward the smooth pop and jazz standards that her father loved.

Watch more coverage below:

Natalie Cole on Singing Duets With Late Father

Cole's greatest success came with her 1991 album, "Unforgettable ... With Love," which paid tribute to her father with reworked versions of some of his best-known songs, including "That Sunday That Summer," ''Too Young" and "Mona Lisa."

Her voice was spliced with her dad's in the title cut, offering a delicate duet a quarter-century after his death.

The album sold some 14 million copies and won six Grammys, including album of the year as well record and song of the year for the title track duet.

While making the album, Cole told The Associated Press in 1991, she had to "throw out every R&B lick that I had ever learned and every pop trick I had ever learned. With him, the music was in the background and the voice was in the front."

"I didn't shed really any real tears until the album was over," Cole said. "Then I cried a whole lot. When we started the project it was a way of reconnecting with my dad. Then when we did the last song, I had to say goodbye again."

She was also nominated for an Emmy award in 1992 for a televised performance of her father's songs.

"That was really my thank you," she told People magazine in 2006. "I owed that to him."

Watch more coverage below:

Natalie Cole Opens Up About Her First Encounter With Racism

Another father-daughter duet, "When I Fall in Love," won a 1996 Grammy for best pop collaboration with vocals, and a follow-up album, "Still Unforgettable," won for best traditional pop vocal album of 2008.

Cole made her recording debut in 1975 with Inseparable. The music industry welcomed her with two Grammy awards -- one for best new artist and one for best female R&B vocal performance for her buoyant hit "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)."

She also worked as an actress, with appearances on TV's Touched by an Angel and Grey's Anatomy.

But she was happiest touring and performing live.

"I still love recording and still love the stage," she said on her website in 2008, "but like my dad, I have the most fun when I am in front of that glorious orchestra or that kick-butt big band."

Cole was born in 1950 to Nat "King" Cole and his wife, Maria Ellington Cole, a onetime vocalist with Duke Ellington who was no relation to the great bandleader.

Her father was already a recording star, and he rose to greater heights in the 1950s and early '60s. He toured worldwide, and in 1956 he became the first black entertainer to host a national TV variety show, though poor ratings and lack of sponsors killed it off the following year. He also appeared in a few movies and spoke out in favor of civil rights.

Natalie Cole grew up in Los Angeles' posh Hancock Park neighborhood, where her parents had settled in 1948 despite animosity from some white residents about having the black singer as a neighbor. When told by residents didn't want "undesirable people" in the area, the singer said, "Neither do I, and if I see (any), I'll be the first to complain."

The family eventually included five children.

Watch more coverage below:

Natalie Cole On Growing Up In The Only Black Family In Hancock Park

Natalie Cole started singing seriously in college, performing in small clubs.

But in her 2000 autobiography, Angel on My Shoulder, Cole discussed how she had battled heroin, crack cocaine and alcohol addiction for many years. She spent six months in rehab in 1983.

When she announced in 2008 that she had been diagnosed with hepatitis C, a liver disease spread through contact with infected blood, she blamed her past intravenous drug use.

She criticized the Recording Academy for giving five Grammys to drug user Amy Winehouse in 2008.

"I'm an ex-drug addict and I don't take that kind of stuff lightly," Cole explained at the 2009 Grammy Awards. Hepatitis C "stayed in my body for 25 years and it could still happen to this young woman or other addicts who are fooling around with drugs, especially needles."

Cole received chemotherapy to treat the hepatitis and "within four months, I had kidney failure," she told CNN's Larry King in 2009. She needed dialysis three times a week until she received a donor kidney on May 18, 2009. The organ procurement agency One Legacy facilitated the donation from a family that had requested that their donor's organ go to Cole if it was a match.

Cole toured through much of her illness, often receiving dialysis at hospitals around the globe.

"I think that I am a walking testimony to you can have scars," she told Peoplemagazine. "You can go through turbulent times and still have victory in your life."

Watch more coverage below:

The Unforgettable Natalie Cole Discusses Her New Song

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