Cole died from congestive heart failure, at the age of 65, on New Year's Eve (31Dec15), and Tears of a Clown singer Smokey has turned to news show Entertainment Tonight to offer his thoughts about her passing.
In a new interview, he reveals he knew his old friend was battling poor health nine months ago.
"We did a concert together in Arizona, and when I saw her that day she didn't look good to me," he said. "She lost a lot of weight and stuff, and I could tell because I had known her for so long and (we were) so close.
"The last time I was able to talk to her was the night of the concert, before I went on. We hugged and talked..."
And Smokey admitted he'll miss Natalie - because she was a good person to talk to.
He added, "Just being able to say, 'Hey Nat, how are you doing baby?' Sit down and talk like that. That is what I am going to miss, because we spent a lot of time together.
"I hope even people that don't or didn't get a chance to know her personally will understand that her legacy is that she was a wonderful lady. She is going to live on and on and on. She made great music and people who knew her loved her."
Celebrity tributes for the Miss You Like Crazy singer have been pouring in via social media and news outlets ever since news of Natalie's death broke on New Year's Day (01Jan16).