How a Kidney Transplant Saved Natalie Cole's Life 6 Years Ago: 'She Was Full of Gratitude'


Natalie Cole AP PHOTO

During Natalie Cole's lifetime, she suffered a substantial amount of health problems, including undergoing a kidney transplant after being diagnosed with Hepatitis C in 2008.

Now in the wake of her death, Tom Mone, CEO of One Legacy (the United States' largest organ recovery agency), recalls Cole's "miracle" path to finding a kidney, and his last encounter with the star.

"Back in 2009 she received a kidney donation from a donor family that we recovered," Mone tells PEOPLE. "The family made a specific request to make a direct donation to her because they knew of her need for a kidney."

Mone explains that when the donor family lost their loved one, after hearing of Cole's illness through the media, they specifically asked if the kidney could be given to Cole, which "was a very generous thing to do." Continue reading.