Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson and Chaka Khan were among those in attendance at Los Angeles’ Church of God in Christ Monday for a memorial service to lay to rest soul singer Natalie Cole, who passed away December 31st from a rare lung disease. Gladys Knight, producer David Foster, Angela Bassett, Johnny Mathis and Reverend Jessie Jackson also paid their respects to the “Unforgettable” singer.
Nearly 5,000 of Cole’s family and friends attended the private three-hour memorial service, with Richie, Foster and Robinson among those eulogizing the Grammy-winning singer, CBS Los Angeles reports. “I feel so blessed to have called you my friend, and my buddy, and many times my confidante,” Robinson said. “You are so real and down-to-earth. Now I have to say you’re so real and up to heaven.”
“As much as I stood in awe of her artistry which ran so deep, when I think of her today, I realize that it’s her friendship that I will miss the most,” Foster said during his Cole tribute.
Cole’s publicist also told ABC News that Wonder sang with the choir on one song, while Cole’s son Robbie played drums during another performance. Cole will be buried next to her parents, Nat King Cole and Maria Cole, at Glendale’s Forest Lawn Memorial Park, the same cemetery where Lemmy Kilmister was laid to rest on Saturday.
Watch video from Cole’s funeral below, including Wonder playing a song for mourners on his harmonica (via Reuters).