Victoria Rowell, Natalie Cole and Tanya HartMy friend Natalie Cole and I had so much fun on the day this photo was taken. There is always a party somewhere in Hollywood, but this was Natalie’s birthday so it was special.

This morning I sent the photo to Victoria Rowell , the other lovely lady in the picture. She was on her way back from Jamaica and had just heard about Natalie passing. She vowed like myself that we would see more of each other this year. We had hoped to have seen Natalie at the Disney Concert Hall on New Year’s Eve, but her fall tour was cancelled after she became ill this summer.

I first met Natalie when I was living in Boston and she was a student at the University of Massachusetts. Her mother, Maria Cole lived in the Ritz Carlton on Newbury Street, and on a couple of occasions we had tea at her lovely condo with another mutual friend, Boston socialite Smoki Bacon. Both of these women were 20 plus years older than me but I enjoyed their company.

When Natalie was in town she would perform at some of the local clubs. At that time Boston had many clubs and was a burgeoning music business center. It was round that time Natalie got her first big hit This will be and the rest is history.

Uploaded to YouTube by rotorjunior

We reconnected when I move to Los Angeles, and she was always graceful and very down to earth. I truly appreciated how she welcomed me into her circle of friends.

Video – BBC News ask me to speak about my friend Natalie Cole

When she became ill in 2008 with Hepatitis C she fought back and won. When she got her kidney transplant in 2009 she never stopped. Even when it looked like illness was taking over this past summer and she was hospitalized, Natalie fought tenaciously until that lovely heart gave out on New Year’s Eve. But as most will say Natalie Cole was simply “Unforgettable.”

We will not hear another voice like Natalie’s……rest in peace my friend.

Tanya Hart


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