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Natalie Cole, Singer And Recovered Drug Addict, Dies at 65

Earlier this month, the world lost an ‘Unforgettable’ artist. Natalie Cole, the Grammy­ winning singer, passed away on New Year’s Day at the age of 65 due to congestive heart failure.

Natalie Cole Death

Cole grew up in a musically­-inclined family. Her father was the legendary singer and jazz musician Nat King Cole and her mother was a singer for Duke Ellington. From the age of 6 when she sang with her father on a Christmas album, Natalie’s journey of performing began.

In 1975, at the age of 25, her song “This Will Be” earned her a Grammy for best new artist. She had several other hits thereafter, but personal problems stalled her career.

Problems with drug abuse

In 2000, Natalie released an autobiography in which she described her battles with drugs for much of her life. Natalie experimented with heroin in her early 20’s and shortly after, became addicted to cocaine and crack cocaine. In 1975, she was arrested for possession of heroin in Toronto, Canada. Her drug addictions led to an incident in which she would not leave a burning building and another where her son Robert almost drowned in the pool. It wasn’t until some ten years later in 1983, that a trip to rehab helped her turn her life around.

“Somehow, at some point halfway through those 30 days, I went from not wanting to be there to being afraid to leave. I was starting to get it,” she told the Houston Chronicle.

The comeback

In 1991, Natalie released “Unforgettable…With Love,” an album that included a duet with her father on one of his biggest hits, “Unforgettable” thanks to technological advances. That album won her six Grammys, including song of the year, record of the year and album of the year.

Ongoing health issues

In 2008, Natalie began suffering with kidney problems from hepatitis C, which she attributed to her earlier troubles with drugs. In 2009 when both of her kidneys failed, Natalie went public with a request for a kidney donation, which she ultimately received that same year.

Natalie’s life, while full of proud moments that are solidified in history, might have been prolonged had she not experimented with (and subsequently become addicted to) drugs. If you or someone you know is struggling, please contact The Watershed today. We’re available 24/7.

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