Natalie Cole died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles due to complications from ongoing health issues on New Year’s Eve.

Cole, daughter of legendary jazz legend Nat King Cole, was successful with her hits, “Our Love” and This Will Be.” Her greatest musical achievements were in 1991 when she re-recordered her father’s classic hits for the album “Unforgettable… With Love.” Through the magic of technology, Cole was able to sing wth her father on the tracks as well. The album became a multiplatinum smash and Cole received multiple Grammy Awards, including album of the year.

“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,” said her son Robert Yancy and sisters Timolin and Casey Cole said in a statement.

Celebrities took to social media to honor the late singer. Marlee Matlin tweeted yesterday, “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.”

Cole was greatly inspired by her father before his passing from lung cancer when she was only 15. Starting off as an R&B singer, Cole moved towards the smooth jazz sound similar to her father’s. When “Unforgettable” was released, the sound was a perfect blend of Cole’s voice with her father’s including his greatest hits, “That Sunday That Summer,” ”Too Young” and “Mona Lisa.”

“Unforgettable” sold 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.

Cole said in 1991 that she “didn’t shed really any real tears until the album was over. 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.”

The late singer also worked as an actress on TV’s Touched By An Angel and Grey’s Anatomy.

In 2008, Cole announced she had been diagnosed with Hepaticas C which she blamed on her intravenous drug use. Cole battled an addiction to heroine and crack and spent six months in rehab in 1983. In 2009, she explained to CNN’s Larry King that her kidneys were failing and needed dialysis three times a week until she had liver replacement that same year.

Cole was happiest when she was on stage performing. “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.”

 

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