natalie cole
Natalie Cole, who was best known for her songs Unforgettable and This Will Be, had been suffering from ill health for some time – most notably being diagnosed with hepatitis C in 2008Reuters

Singer Natalie Cole has died at the age of 65, according to reports. The daughter of acclaimed performers Nat King Cole and Maria Hawkins Cole is understood to have died from congestive heart failure at a hospital in Los Angeles on New Year's Day.

Cole, who was best known for her songs Unforgettable and This Will Be, had been suffering from ill health for some time – most notably being diagnosed with hepatitis C in 2008. She is believed to have cancelled all of her planned concert performances in November and December after a medical procedure required an "extended hospital stay".

The singer battled with heroin addiction throughout the 1980s and spoke extensively of the impact being diagnosed with hepatitis had on her life. "I was a heroin addict, sharing needles with the crowd I was with," she told People magazine in 2008.

"At the time, I was having fun. I didn't know. Then, 25 years later after a routine blood test, my doctor tells me, 'You have hepatitis C.' My life crumbled before my eyes. I never had symptoms. I didn't know anything about it. Would I still have a career? Was I going to die? How long did I have? I was devastated. I had to let it sink in for six weeks while they ran more test," she added.

Cole had received chemotherapy treatment for her illness and is known to have been taking an antiviral drug called Ribavirin. In 2009, she also underwent a kidney transplant with the replacement organ donated by a deceased fan.

The singer was nominated for a number of Grammy awards over the years, winning her first in 1976 for Best New Artist and Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female. The following year she landed another award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female, for her song "Sophisticated Lady".

In 1992, she was able to recreate her Grammy magic by pulling in three awards – Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Traditional Pop Performance. The last Grammy she won was in 2009 for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Still Unforgettable. Although she was still touring up until her death, her last album release was in 2013 with Natalie Cole en Español.