Late American singer Natalie Cole was remembered in a touching memorial service on Monday.
Friends and family gathered to honour Cole who passed away on December 31.
Mourners included Gladys Knight, Johnny Mathis, Jesse Jackson, Angela Bassett, Linda Thompson, Stevie Wonder, Kurt Carr, Lionel Richie, Chaka Khan, Smokey Robinson, David Foster, among many others.
At the near three-hour-long private memorial, held at the West Los Angeles Church Of God In Christ, many paid tribute to her in song
Stevie Wonder and Kurt Carr sang, while speakers Lionel Richie, Chaka Khan (who was expected to perform but apologized for being too hoarse to sing), Smokey Robinson and David Foster paid tribute to the singer at the closed-casket service.
“I feel so blessed to have called you my friend, and my buddy, and many times my confidante,” Robinson said, according to CBS Los Angeles. “You are so real and down to earth. Now I have to say you’re so real and up to heaven.”
Cole’s son Robbie and sisters Timolin and Casey also spoke at the funeral.
Cole’s heart failure was brought on by idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH), a rare lung disease. But IPAH was just one of many conditions she struggled with over the years. In addition to a lifelong battle with addiction, she underwent a kidney transplant in 2009 after complications resulting from her 2008 hepatitis C diagnosis.
Cole was 65 when she died of heart failure.
The Grammy Award-winning R&B singer was the daughter of jazz legend Nat King Cole and is survived by her son and sisters, who released the following statement upon her passing: “Natalie fought a fierce, courageous battle, dying how she lived . . . with dignity, strength and honour. Our beloved mother and sister will be greatly missed and remain unforgettable
in our hearts forever.”
“My sister was a warrior in the best sense of the word,” Casey Cole Hooker said at the service. “In the end her body simply began to give out and it shut down. She was long accepting of what was coming and trying to make us okay.”