Natalie Cole, Grammy-winning R&B and jazz singer, has died at the age of 65 of congestive heart failure. Though she was the daughter of two singers—the legendary Nat “King” Cole and Maria Cole, a jazz singer who had worked with Count Basie and Duke Ellington—Natalie was a star in her own right. She won a Grammy for Best New Artist and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 1975, and her album, Unforgettable: With Love, which included a duet with her late father on the song he made famous in 1952, won the Grammy for Album Of The Year in 1991. Natalie won a total of nine Grammys during her three decades as a recording artist, most recently Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album in 2008 for Still Unforgettable.
Though Nat “King” Cole died when Natalie was 15, his music lived on through many of Natalie’s albums. Natalie had traveled with her father to Mexico and Europe in the ’50s, and a trip to Mexico when she was 8 inspired the 2013 albumNatalie Cole En Español, which includes another posthumous father-daughter duet, “Acércate Mas.” Natalie told NPR in 2013 that when she first started out, “the last thing I wanted to do was sing my dad’s music ... It took 15 years into my career before I felt comfortable and confident enough to even attempt it, singing my father’s music.”
Natalie had suffered health problems in recent years, and had a kidney transplant in 2009, not long after she released an album of Great American Songbook standards. In a 2008 interview with The LA Times about her health, she said, “We can’t lose this music. That’s why I want to get back out there in the world.” She went on to record another live album and one studio album, which earned three Latin Grammy nominations. She had been touring as recently as last summer, though she canceled fall tour dates due to her health.