NEW YORK, May 22 (UPI) -- Natalie Cole's older sister Cookie died while the U.S. singer was undergoing kidney transplant surgery this week, another sibling said.
Natalie Cole, who suffers from hepatitis C and had been undergoing kidney dialysis three times a week, was with her dying sister when she received a call from doctors saying a kidney was available from a donor and she should head to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles immediately for transplant surgery, the New York Post reported. Cookie died while Natalie was having her operation.
"This is all so surreal, and it is devastating," Natalie's younger sister, Timolin, told the newspaper.
"Our sister Cookie hadn't been to a doctor in 30 years, and last week she went in and they found a cancerous spot on her lung. They had wanted to start chemo right away, but Cookie said no," Timolin said. "Natalie was there with her at her bedside at 4 in the morning on Monday, and she got a phone call from her doctors that a kidney was ready for her. She said: 'What do you mean? I can't deal with that right now! I'm here with my dying sister!' And they said to her: 'No, ma'am. We've got to do it now. You've got to be at Cedars-Sinai in two hours.'"
Timolin Cole said she told Natalie the donated kidney was "God's gift" and insisted she go to the hospital immediately.
"Cookie would want this for you," Timolin Cole recalled telling Natalie before the recording artist went to the hospital and underwent surgery, which doctors have called a success.