Natalie Cole, who turned to God during her bout with drugs, passed away on December 31st. According to ABC News, Cole's family has revealed that the cause of the R&B crooner's death was brought on by idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH).
Cole died at the age of 65 on New Year's Eve at a hospital in Los Angeles. Her family further revealed that the singer underwent a successful kidney transplant in 2009, after which she was diagnosed with IPAH.
"This is a very serious and progressive disorder," Cole's family said in the statement obtained by ABC News. "(Cole) responded well to PAH-specific agents over many years, during which she performed many concerts world-wide, but eventually succumbed to intractable right heart failure, an outcome that unfortunately commonly occurs in this progressive disorder, despite modern therapies."
During the months before Cole died she was described as weak and frail. During December, she even cancelled a number of her shows. Prior to that, Cole had suffered through a substantial amount of health problems. In her 2000 autobiography, Angel on My Shoulder, she recounted her lifelong battle with substance abuse. In 2009, she underwent a kidney transplant after being diagnosed with Hepatitis C in April 2008 and undergoing chemotherapy.
In an interview with CBNmusic, Cole was a Christian who turned to God for help during her bouts with drugs, particularly heroin. Though she had a ups and downs in her Christian walk, she firmly believes that the Lord is good. "God surrounded me with people of faith, people of strong faith, people of power, spiritual power, and I saw little miracles happen in their lives. By it happening in their lives, I started believing it could happen to me. I'm a little like Thomas: I doubt. I know that the Lord is good, but I have been a doubter of His goodness for me."
"Oh please, that's inborn in all of us to call on God. That's the first thing we say: 'Oh God, help me.' Why not? I think that's a part of what He put in us, and what we do with the rest of it is a choice we make. I think it is something that everybody knows about God. When you have put all your faith in man and continue to be disappointed, don't you hope there is something out of there that is not of human element?"
Interestingly, Natalie Cole was born in the same hospital where she also died. Born to crooner Nat King Cole and former Duke Ellington Orchestra singer Maria Hawkins Ellington, Cole was inspired by her dad at an early age and auditioned to sing with him when she was just 11 years old. She was 15 when he died of lung cancer, in 1965. She began as an R&B singer but later gravitated toward the smooth pop and jazz standards that her father loved.
Cole's first big hit was "This Will Be." The hopeful, upbeat love song entered the Billboard Hot 100 dated Aug. 30, 1975, and became her first top 10 on the chart, reaching No. 6 that November. A year later, Cole added her second top 10, the No. 5-peaking "I've Got Love on My Mind." The No. 10-peaking "Our Love" would follow in 1978.
In the 80s, Cole ruled the charts with her album Everlasting, which returned her to the top of the charts thanks to singles such as "Jump Start (My Heart)", the top ten ballad, "I Live For Your Love", and her dance-pop cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Pink Cadillac". That success helped Everlasting reach one million in sales and become Cole's first platinum album in ten years. In 1989, she released her follow-up to Everlasting, Good to Be Back, which produced the number two hit "Miss You Like Crazy"; it also achieved international success, reaching the top ten in the United Kingdom.
Cole's greatest success came with her 1991 album, "Unforgettable ... With Love," which paid tribute to her father with reworked versions of some of his best-known songs. The album sold some 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.