Robert Yancy Dies; Son of Natalie Cole Was 39

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Sad news out of Hollywood today, as a family that's already been touched by tragedy on several occasions has suffered yet another loss.

Robert Yancy, the son of singer Natalie Cole, was found dead in his San Fernando Valley apartment late last night.

He was just 39 years.

Robert Yancy Photo

Family members tell TMZ that authorities contacted them at 2:30 on Sunday morning to inform that Robert died of a heart attack.

The death is being listed as a result of natural causes pending the results of a full autopsy and toxicology report.

Yancy's mother, Natalie Cole, died of congestive heart failure believed to have been brought about by hard drug use in 2015, but those who knew him best say Robert never suffered from substance abuse issues.

Friends tell TMZ that after a number of personal setbacks, Yancy was happy, seemingly healthy, and "turning his life around" in the weeks before his passing.

Robert's father died of a heart attack at the age of 34, leading many to the conclusion that severe heart disease simply runs in the family.

Robert Yancy and Natalie Cole

At least one insider says authorities were clear that there's no reason to suspect that drugs or foul play were involved in Yancy's death.

The son of Cole and her first husband, Marvin Yancy, a singer for the R&B group The Independents, Robert was a lifelong music lover who was working in the industry at the time of his death.

Robert gained major media attention last year, when he slammed the Grammys for failing to pay proper tribute to his mother following her unexpected passing.

“She deserves more than that because she has done so much,” he said at the time.

“To have my mother treated with the disdain and disrespect that she was treated with last night, it's just unacceptable. It was not right.”

Robert Yancy Image

Cole, the first black performer to win a Best New Artist Grammy, received no tribute beyond a brief segment in the show's annual "In Memoriam" montage.

Robert's grandfather, the legendary jazz musician Nat King Cole, also passed away prematurely, succumbing to lung cancer in 1965 at the age of 45.

Robert Yancy has already been the subject of thousands of heartfelt tributes on social media.

Our thoughts go out to his family during this difficult time.

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