Nat 'King' Cole widow Maria mourned

Knutsford Guardian: Nat 'King' Cole and his wife Maria Hawkins Cole (AP) Nat 'King' Cole and his wife Maria Hawkins Cole (AP)

Maria Hawkins Cole, widow of Nat "King" Cole and mother of Natalie Cole, has died at the age of 89 after a short battle with cancer.

A representative of the family confirmed that she died on Tuesday at a Boca Raton hospice in Florida, surrounded by her family.

Born in Boston in 1922, Cole had a long singing career, performing with greats such as Count Basie and Duke Ellington.

She began soloing at New York's Club Zanzibar in 1946. She eventually met Nat "King" Cole there, and the two were married in 1948.

Maria Cole travelled and performed with her husband throughout the 1950s. After her husband died from cancer in 1965, Maria Cole created the Cole Cancer Foundation.

Besides her daughter Natalie, Maria Cole's survivors include twin daughters Timolin and Casey.

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