R&B singer Keyshia Cole's mother, Frankie Lons, died on Sunday, her 61st birthday. Lons died from a drug overdose, her family told TMZ Monday. Cole was raised by family friends and did not reunite with her biological parents until recently. Their reunion was featured on the 2019 BET reality series Keyshia Cole: My New Life.
Cole's brother, Sam, told TMZ Lons overdosed on her birthday at her Oakland, California home Sunday. Lons struggled with drug addiction for decades until recently and fought to stay sober. Lons marked 60 days sober in March. She relapsed while celebrating her birthday, Sam said. He checked in with Lons every day to help his mother stay clean. The family hopes people remember Lons as someone who loved her children and wanted them to be together, overcoming their turbulent history, Sam told TMZ.
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Cole's sister Elite Noel announced Lons' death on Instagram. "Worse pain ever... to see my mama in a body bag on her birthday! My heart so f— broke," she wrote in an Instagram Story post. Cole has not publicly commented on her mother's death yet, but she did write about Lons' drug addiction in an August 2018 Instagram post, alongside an old video with Lons.
"Every time my mom relapse, it breaks my heart more than it's already been broken," Cole wrote at the time. "I'm hoping if any of u are dealing with a family member who's battling with drug addiction, that you, yourself are learning how to cope with the struggle of it all. And all the pain it brings to see a loved one constantly relapsing. See them go back to the streets Because that's what they're used to, or would rather be. I really miss you! And will always love u [Frank the Bank]."
Cole's parents — Lons and boxing trainer Virgil Hunter — gave Cole up for adoption when she was two, and she was raised by family friends Leon and Yvonne Cole. In 2016, Cole discovered Hunter was her biological father through a paternity test. She also reunited with Lons, who guest-starred in an episode of Keyshia Cole: My New Life.
Cole released her most recent album, 11:11 Reset, in October 2017 and is reportedly working on her next album. Aside from My New Life, she has frequently starred on reality shows, including Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is (2006-2008), Keyshia & Daniel: Family First (2012), Keyshia Cole: All In (2015), and Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood (2017). She has two sons, Tobias Khale, 1, and Daniel Hiram Gibson Jr., 11.