Page last updated at 09:50 GMT, Wednesday, 1 April 2009 10:50 UK

Fans offer kidneys to singer Cole

Natalie Cole
The performer will keep touring despite punishing dialysis treatment

Singer Natalie Cole has been inundated with offers of kidneys from fans after she revealed on American television that she needed a transplant.

The daughter of Nat King Cole told Larry King she was facing a lifetime of dialysis after both her kidneys failed following treatment for hepatitis C.

While still live on air, King was able to present Cole with a pile of emails from viewers offering their own organs.

Cole, appearing stunned, said: "There are some great human beings out there."

Aggressive treatment

The 59-year-old singer was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 2008. At the time, she said she was ready to "meet this challenge with a heartfelt optimism and determination".

Cole attributes her hepatitis C to years of drug use. The performer was addicted to heroin, LSD and cocaine before going into rehab in 1984. Sharing needles is one of the ways the disease can be passed on.

The singer underwent an aggressive treatment of chemotherapy and weeks afterwards she said: "I couldn't breathe. Literally, my kidneys stopped functioning.

"They stopped processing the fluid that was starting to build up in my body."

The singer told Larry King "dialysis is keeping me alive". She makes three trips a week for three-and-a-half hour treatments to clean her blood.

'Amazing' offers

King handed her a sheaf of papers saying: "These are all e-mails from dozens of people offering to be tested to see if they can match, who want to give you a kidney.

The overwhelmed singer called the offers "amazing" saying: "I always felt that it was just so strange to solicit to strangers for a kidney.

"But people are really great. There are some great human beings out there. That's all I can say" she added.

Attempts to find a donor match within her family have been unsuccessful.

The singer is determined to keep touring despite her illness. She collected two Grammy awards this year giving her a career total of ten wins.

She said on the Larry King show that if a living donor was found, she would try and delay the operation until the end of the year because of current work commitments.

"It is not a life and death situation," she claimed.

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