Stars pay tribute at Cole’s funeral

LOS ANGELES: Music veterans, friends and family have paid tribute to Grammy Award winner American singer Natalie Cole, celebrating the late singer’s life at a star-studded funeral in Los Angeles on January 11.

Cole, the daughter of veteran performer Nat King Cole, died aged 65 on December 31, 2015 of a rare lung disease that led to heart failure.

Music filled the service, with Stevie Wonder playing the harmonica and singing the Lord’s Prayer. Mourners including Gladys Knight, Lionel Richie and Smokey Robinson, who called Cole “my friend, my buddy and many times my confidant” also honoured the singer with a standing ovation.

“As much as I stood in awe of her artistry which ran so deep, when I think of her today I realise that it’s her friendship that I will miss the most,” music producer David Foster said.

As per Cole’s family, the singer had been diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension five years ago after a successful kidney transplant in 2009. She had undergone the operation after being diagnosed with hepatitis following a period of drug abuse. The jazz, pop and soul singer, whose career spanned five decades, then returned to perform around the world.