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Natalie Cole Dies at 65, R&B & Hip-Hop Community React

Natalie Cole
Chelsea Lauren, Getty Images

The year 2016 is starting off on a very sad note. Legendary songbird Natalie Cole, the daughter of soul icon Nat King Cole, has passed away at the age of 65. Her publicist, Maureen O’Connor, said the singer died on Thursday (Dec. 31).

Cole’s immediate family also confirmed that the singer passed away from ongoing health complications on Thursday in Los Angeles at Cedar Sinai Hospital.

“Natalie fought a fierce, courageous battle, dying how she lived … with dignity, strength and honor,” reads a statement from her son, Robert Yancy, and sisters Timolin and Casey Cole (via “Our beloved Mother and sister will be greatly missed and remain UNFORGETTABLE in our hearts forever.”

Cole is a nine-time Grammy winner whose indelible music career expands four decades. The chanteuse will most likely be remembered for her 1991 Grammy-winning album, Unforgettable: With Love, which sold 6 million copies. The collection features her loving duet with her late father’s voice on “Unforgettable.” Cole later followed that with another posthumous duet with her father with “When I Fall in Love.”

Among Cole’s multiple hits include “This Will Be,” “Our Love,” “Sophisticated Lady,” “I’ve Got Love on My Mind” and a Bruce Springsteen cover of “Pink Cadillac.”

Cole’s career was derailed in the mid-70s and ’80s by her addiction to heroin before she successfully completed rehab in 1983. After recovering from drug addiction, Cole was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 2008. She continued to perform despite her declining health which was tied to kidney disease. While dealing with her medical issues, Cole was helping her sister, Cookie, battle cancer. Her sister died the morning Cole got a successful kidney transplant in May 2009.

In 2013, Cole released her final album, which was recorded in Spanish, titled Natalie Cole en Espanol.

Upon hearing the news of Natalie Cole’s death rappers and singers went on social media to express their condolences.

“I am so sad to hear about Natalie Cole’s passing. I feel she has always been apart of my life in many ways,” said Jordin Sparks on Instagram. I’m sure the heavens are absolutely loving you and your dad rejoicing together. ‘Unforgettable in every way….’ That you are, Natalie, that you are.”

“R.I.P. to the legend Natalie Cole!!! You are appreciated and will never be forgotten….#LOVE,” tweeted Young Money president Mack Maine.

We want to send our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Natalie Cole. She is truly unforgettable. May she rest soulfully in peace.

I am so sad to hear about Natalie Cole's passing. I feel she has always been apart of my life in many ways. Before the craziness & now. Her father, Nat King Cole, is my favorite artist of all time. 'Smile' is a song I sing to myself whenever things get overwhelming. I sang 'This Will Be' on the American Idol tour w/ @mdoolittle, my favorite part of that show. A few years later, I had the honor of actually singing it with her on stage. I don't remember what I sounded like, I was too much in awe of her. But, I sure remember her standing next to me, voice so pure & clear as a bell. I will never ever forget that moment. She was always so kind & exuded so much grace. Rest in everlasting love. I'm sure the heavens are absolutely loving you and your dad rejoicing together. 'Unforgettable in every way….' That you are, Natalie, that you are.❤️

A photo posted by Jordin Sparks (@jordinsparks) on

Watch Natalie Cole’s “Unforgettable” Video Feat. Nat King Cole

Watch Natalie Cole Perform “This Will Be (Everlasting Love)”

Watch Natalie Cole’s “Miss You Like Crazy” Video

Watch Natalie Cole’s “Pink Cadillac” Video

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