Smokey Robinson leads memorial tributes to Natalie Cole
Stars including Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson have led mourners at Natalie Cole's memorial.
Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder were among the mourners who packed into a Crenshaw, Los Angeles church on Monday (11Jan16) to say farewell to singer Natalie Cole.
Smokey, who was among the first celebrities to offer up a tribute to the Miss You Like Crazy singer following her death on New Year's Eve (31Dec15), was the first star to speak at the West Angeles Church of God in Christ memorial service.
He told fellow mourners, "I feel so blessed to have called you my friend, my buddy, my confidante."
Lionel Richie, songwriter David Foster and actress Angela Bassett were spotted at the service too, as was Chaka Khan, who performed at the event.
Stevie Wonder was also among those who performed a tribute to Cole, who died from congestive heart failure at the age of 65. The singer's body will be laid to rest alongside her parents, sister and brother at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.
Cole passed away on New Year's Eve with her family releasing a touching tribute to her soon after the news was announced.
"Natalie fought a fierce, courageous battle, dying how she lived... with dignity, strength and honour," a statement from her son Robert, and sisters Tomolin and Casey Cole read, reports the Associated Press. "Our beloved mother and sister will be greatly missed and remain unforgettable in our hearts forever."
Cole spent more than 40 years in the music industry, having followed in the footsteps of her famous father Nat King Cole, and news of her death provoked a flurry of tributes from her peers including Tony Bennett and Jordin Sparks.
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