Music industry luminaries, family and friends gathered in Los Angeles on Monday to pay tribute to Grammy-winning singer Natalie Cole, who died New Year's Eve at age 65.
"I feel so blessed to have called you my friend, and my buddy, and many times my confidante," singer Smokey Robinson said during the funeral service at West Angeles Church of God in Christ's cathedral at Crenshaw and Exposition boulevards. "You are so real and down to Earth. Now I have to say you're so real and up to heaven."
The service for the hundreds in attendance was dominated by musical performances, including one by Stevie Wonder and another by Cole's longtime band.
Singers Lionel Richie and Chaka Khan, actress Angela Bassett, former LA County sheriff Lee Baca and music producer David Foster were among the dignitaries in attendance at the hours-long service in the 5,000-seat venue.
Local news from across Southern California
Cole, best known for her "Unforgettable" duet with her late father Nat "King" Cole, died News Year's Eve from what her family described as congestive heart failure after years of health challenges stemming from a 2009 kidney transplant.
Cole won nine Grammy awards during her career.
"She was not just the daughter of Nat 'King' Cole. She was Natalie Cole, a superstar in her own right," Richie said.
The Rev. Melvin V. Wade, pastor of Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, presided over the closed-casket service in the West Adams area. Earl Jordan, the church's executive director of operations, told the Los Angeles Times Cole was a member of West Angeles Church of God in Christ in the 1990s but left to join Mt. Moriah, where her son attended.
Later, Cole will be buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, alongside her parents -- Nat "King" Cole and Maria Hawkins.