Frankie Lons, the mother of R&B superstar Keyshia Cole, died at her Oakland home of a suspected drug overdose after celebrating her 61st birthday on Sunday, according to reports.
Lons, who has had a public battle with addiction, became a reality TV star in 2006 on her daughter’s BET show, “Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is”. In the show, Lons shared with viewers her struggles with addiction and journey to sobriety.
Elite Noel, Cole’s sister, announced their mother’s passing on Instagram.
“Worse pain ever,” Noel wrote. “To see my mama in a body bag on her birthday! My heart so fuckin broke.”
Lons’ granddaughter, Zayya Henderson, also mourned the death on Facebook.
”Damn grandma Frankie. The call I just got on your birthday,” Henderson wrote. “I was just finna come see you this week. I just talked to you. Happy birthday beautiful and rest in heaven.”
“Just found out my mom dead,” Lons’ son Sam, a musician known as Sammy Ghostt, wrote, adding that he used to check on his mom daily in an attempt to help her fight her addiction.
He also said he wants his mom to be remembered as someone who loved her children and wanted them together despite their stormy history.
A platinum-winning R&B start, Cole was given up for adoption by Lons and her biological father, Virgil Hunter.
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Cole was raised by family friends and reunited with her family when she had already made it big on the music scene. She was very vocal about her mom’s addiction, congratulating her for checking into rehab and encouraging her to stay focused on fighting it.
Lons was known for her transparency and infectious smile. She appeared on Coles’ follow-up shows and the Grammy nominee’s Instagram feed, which has more than 6.7 million followers.
Lons had 2009 spinoff series of her own, “Frankie & Neffe“, which she starred in with her other daughter, Neffeteria Pugh.
Several fans who followed Lons’ life on and off TV mourned her passing and wished Cole and the rest of the family condolences.