Natalie Cole Died Of Heart Failure, Caused By Rare Lung Disease She Battled For Six Years

Roughly a week after she died on New Year’s Day, late singer Natalie Cole’s cause of death has been released by her family.

Cole died of heart failure, which was caused by a case of idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension, ABC News reported.

Natalie’s cause of death had previously been identified as congestive heart failure.

She was 65-years-old and passed away in a Los Angeles hospital, People added.

The late singer and daughter of the legendary Nat King Cole had been in ill health for some time before her death last week. Natalie had been forced to cancel several tour dates in late December and a February concert.

Natalie Cole cause of death revealed as heart failure; Cole died on New Year's
Photo By Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

As the Inquisitr previously reported, Cole coped with the death of her father in 1965 both through her music, but also heavy drug use while also suffering from depression. Her recreational drug use began in college but eventually became so serious that it nearly killed her.

Natalie discussed her lifelong battle with drug abuse in a 2000 autobiography called Angel on My Shoulder.

Fast forward to 2009, when Natalie Cole’s health took a turn for the worse. That year, she required a kidney transplant after being diagnosed with hepatitis C the previous year. Cole also underwent chemotherapy.

After that health struggle, Natalie suffered another. Cole’s family revealed that she was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension the same year she underwent a kidney transplant. Her case was idiopathic, meaning the condition arose spontaneously without a known cause.

The lung disease is rare and causes shortness of breath, dizziness, and chest pain, USA Today added.

According to the Mayo Clinic, pulmonary hypertension arises when the pulmonary arteries are filled with extra tissue. This causes the small arteries and capillaries of the lungs to narrow, become blocked, and even damaged, which makes it harder for blood to flow and causing an increase of blood pressure in the lungs.

This damage ultimately affects the right side of the heart. As the blood pressure in the lungs increases, this part of the heart must work even harder to pump blood, and eventually, this extra work leads to weakening and eventual failure.

Natalie’s family said that over the years, she had “responded well” to “pulmonary arterial hypertension-specific agents,” which enabled her to continue to perform concerts worldwide. Unfortunately, Cole eventually suffered from the inevitable end result of the condition — intractable right heart failure.

Natalie Cole cause of death revealed as heart failure; Cole died on New Year's
Photo By Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

“This is a very serious and progressive disorder,” despite “modern therapies” to treat it, Cole’s family said in the statement.

“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,” her family — son Robert Yancy and sisters Timolin and Casey Cole — said last week.

Natalie Cole was as bright a star as her father had been in his time. She won nine Grammy’s and released a slew of platinum albums, including Unpredictable in 1977 and Unforgettable… with Love in 1991. Her hits included “This Will Be,” “Unforgettable,” and “Inseparable.”

She was one of five children, including two biological and two adopted siblings, and was married three times. She divorced her third husband, Bishop Kenneth Dupree, in 2005, and had one son, Robert Adam Yancy, from her first marriage to producer Marvin Yancy.

Cole’s mother, Maria, died three years ago at age 89. She is buried in Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale with Nat, who died of lung cancer at only 45 years old; Natalie will be buried with her parents.

[Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images]