R.I.P. Natalie Cole

 Natalie Cole, who first became famous in 1975 as the Grammy-winning singer of “This Will Be,” died last night from ongoing health complications at the age of 65. Cole blazed through the ’70’s with a succession of R&B hits including “Inseparable,” “I’ve Got Love On My Mind,” “Our Love” and “Sophisticated Lady (She’s A Different Lady)” which allowed her to make a name for herself outside the shadows of her famous father Nat King Cole. She had a resurgence in her popularity again when she covered the pop song “Pink Cadillac” in the late ’80’s. But her family ties helped with her biggest music industry accomplishment when she recorded a technological duet of “Unforgettable” with her father in the early ’90’s. The album, Unforgettable…with Love, and the song won her three more Grammys for Record of the Year, Best Traditional Pop Performance and Album of the Year. In 2000 her memoir, Angel On My Shoulder: An Autobiography was released and it coincided with the television biopic, Livin’ For Love: The Natalie Cole Story which starred Theresa Randle as Cole. The singer spoke openly about her former addiction to heroin and crack cocaine in the ’70’s and ’80’s and how the abuse was connected to a diagnosis of Hepatitis C in 2008. The illness caused the need for a kidney transplant which she received from a deceased fan in 2009. This episode with her health was the subject of her second memoir, Love Brought Me Back: A Journey of Loss and Gain with David Ritz which was released in 2014. Cole continued to work until December of 2015 when she had to cancel all of her performances because of illness. She had recently recorded a cover of Duke Ellington’s “Come Sunday” on Terri Lyne Carrington’s 2015 The Mosaic Project: Love and Soul.