The Unforgettable Natalie Cole

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The outpour of heartfelt condolences continues as funeral services are arranged for Natalie Cole who passed away on Dec. 31 at the age of 65.

Her website reads: “It is with heavy hearts that we bring to you all the news of our Mother and sister’s passing. 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.” It comes from her son Robert Yancy and her sisters Timolin Cole and Casey Cole.

Natalie at the 2011 Angel Ball
Natalie at the 2011 Angel Ball

The last time I spoke with Natalie was at Gabrielle’s Angel Ball in New York City. At the time, she told me she was off to Asia on a big tour before recording a new album. Although she was looking as lovely as ever, she had been battling health issues for years and preferred to keep that part of her life private. She died of congestive heart failure.

Casey and Timolin spoke with Entertainment Tonight about their last moments with her. “When we came to the hospital and spent Christmas Eve with her it was a godsend,” said Timolin. “We were very blessed and thankful to spend that very special day with her that she loved. It was her favorite time of year.” She also explained that Robert, Natalie’s 38-year-old son, was having a hard time. “I think it’s going to be a process.”

Social media circles have swarmed with personal notes, photos and condolences from celebrities impacted by the news.

Natalie and Smokey Robinson
Natalie and Smokey Robinson

Smokey Robinson, who became instant friends with Natalie when they met in the 70s, told People Magazine: “Just being able to say, ‘Hey, Nat, how are you doing, baby?’ Sit down and talk like that. That is what I am going to miss because we spent a lot of time together. I hope even people that don’t or didn’t get a chance to know her personally will understand that her legacy is that she was a wonderful lady. She is going to live on and on and on. She made great music and people who knew her loved her.”

On Instagram, Tony Bennett posted a photo captioned:  “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.”

On Twitter, Patti LaBelle posted: “Sending prayers and condolences to all the loved ones of my friend #NatalieCole! She will be truly missed but her light will shine forever.


Gigi Hadid added: “Heartbroken. #NatalieCole was a true legend & a beautiful spirit; I feel so lucky to have known her. RIP.”

Natalie’s light will continue to shine through the legacy of her music.

You can contribute to keeping her spirit alive by visiting the Nat King Cole Generation Hope organization. Run by Natalie’s family, NKC Generation Hope Inc. is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization in Florida whose mission is to provide music education to children with the greatest need and fewest resources.

About Irene Michaels

Over the past 25 years I have taken on the roles of a producer, publisher, insider journalist and fundraiser. My artistic interests began early in my teens working as a model and a dancer throughout the U.S. I formed my first modeling agency before I was twenty. While modeling I secured a re-occurring role in the popular daytime TV series General Hospital. Read more...