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Singer Natalie Cole Dies At 65

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Natalie Cole performing in May 2015 (Getty Images)
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Natalie Cole, the Grammy-winning singer, died yesterday at age 65. TMZ reports that she died at a Los Angeles hospital, and that the cause was "congestive heart failure, although we're told the underlying medical issues were complications from a kidney transplant and Hepatitis C."

Cole won a number of Grammys and hits, but her most memorable song was "Unforgettable," a duet with her father, the late legendary singer Nat King Cole.

The NY Times notes, "The song reached a level of success that Ms. Cole said stunned her, even with the combined wattage of her name and her father’s." She said in 1991, when the song was released, "The shock of it all is that this record is getting airplay. It’s absolutely shocking to see it between Van Halen and Skid Row on the charts, totally out of its element. It should be encouraging to record companies and my contemporaries."

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The LA Times has background on how Cole decided to pursue a career in music:

Cole's move to singing was accidental. She was a pre-med student at the University of Massachusetts when a friend — who was singing with a local group — fell ill the night of a show and asked whether Cole would stand in for him. He had heard her sing informally at parties. She ended up taking his place in the group and setting aside a medical career. Cole's name helped and hurt. It resulted in a lot of club bookings, but also led to embarrassing moments like the night one club marquee read, "Appearing tonight: The daughter of Nat King Cole."

Cole's ace in the hole was the fact she really could sing.

After her success with her first album in the 1975, Cole also battled addiction to heroin and eventually went to rehab. She reflected that heroin took her the "edge. I have seen the dark side of life.” Cole also received a kidney transplant in 2009, a year after being diagnosed with hepatitis C. She told People in 2008, "You shouldn't have regrets. I'd say instead that I've learned a lot of lessons. Yes, I could have handled some things better. But they've also made me who I am today. I like myself so much more than I did even five years ago. I can't think of anything I wish I hadn't done, even with this hepatitis."

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