LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ailing Natalie Cole now has a new kidney.
The 59-year-old singer underwent successful kidney transplant surgery “and is resting comfortably,” publicist Maureen O'Connor said Wednesday. Cole will postpone her summer tour, which was set to begin June 5 and run through November, as she recovers.
Cole had been receiving dialysis three times a week since September. She still continued to perform, even overseas, in support of her latest album, the Grammy-winning “Still Unforgettable,”
The kidney dialysis is unrelated to Cole's struggle with hepatitis C, a liver disease spread through contact with infected blood. She announced her hepatitis diagnosis last year and said that the disease was likely caused by her drug use years ago.
Cole received painful chemotherapy to treat the hepatitis and “within four months, I had kidney failure,” she told Larry King on his CNN show last month.
Without a donor, she would need dialysis for the rest of her life, she said.
After her appearance on King, she received countless letters from people offering to give her a kidney. But a regional organ-procurement agency, One Legacy, found a kidney for her.
Cole has sold millions of records and won nine Grammys since she made her recording debut in 1975. The daughter of jazz legend Nat King Cole had her greatest success with the 1991 CD “Unforgettable … With Love,” which paid tribute to her late father with reworked versions of some of his best-known songs.
She won her ninth Grammy in February for “Still Unforgettable,” on which she also sings jazz standards. She recently performed on “American Idol” and was gearing up for her tour.
“I'm committed to working. I'm a fighter, not a chump,” she said in an interview with People last year. “The timing is intense. The album is special to me, and here I am sick. But you know the saying: These are the best of times and the worst of times. So we'll barrel through.”
ON THE NET
Natalie Cole: www.nataliecole.com