She was the daughter of a legendary jazz singer, Nat King Cole, who died when Natalie was 15 years old.
It isn't easy when you are the son or daughter of a legend. You must prove your own worth, and people don't take you seriously. Natalie wanted to succeed on the basis of her own talent, but the link to her father was brought up again and again. For years, she would not sing her father's songs.
A song from early in her career. (Everlasting Love).
Natalie Cole turned to heroin and crack cocaine for solace. Her drug use began in college and continued through the early years of her fame. She conquered her addictions after entering rehab in 1983, but the price on her body was high - she contracted Hepatitis C and announced it in 2008. Natalie Cole ended up needing dialysis and, later, a kidney transplant.
She lived a life of determination despite her rocky beginnings and her health problems.
Ms. Cole was a success in the music field, winning nine Grammy Awards.
Ironically, one of her best known songs was a duet she performed, through the magic of modern day technology, with her father. They sang one of her father's biggest hits, Unforgettable.
We will Miss You Like Crazy.
Upon her death, her family said (according to Wikipedia) "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."
If you have a memory of Natalie, share it in the comments below.