LOS ANGELES • Stars, friends and family celebrated Grammy winner Natalie Cole's life at a funeral on Monday. Cole, the daughter of pop legend Nat King Cole, died on Dec 31 at age 65 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.
Cole's family said last week 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 singer, whose career spanned five decades, then returned to perform around the world.