Francine “Frankie” Lons, the biological mother of R&B singer Keyshia Cole, has reportedly died due to an overdose at the age of 61.
On Monday, Keyshia’s brother Sam confirmed with TMZ that Frankie had overdosed in her Oakland home on Sunday following a relapse of a long-term battle with drug addiction and journey toward sobriety. Sam further confirmed that it was also the day she was celebrating her birthday.
Frankie’s granddaughter (Keyshia’s niece) Zayya Henderson took to Facebook to pay tribute to her grandmother on Monday, wishing her a happy birthday as well as sharing a memory from a previous birthday.
“Damn grandma Frankie 🥺the call I just got😰 on your birthday,” Zayya posted on her Facebook page Monday. “I was just Finna come see you this week I just talked to you 🥺😩 happy birthday beautiful and rest in heaven.”
Keyshia’s sister Elite also posted on social media via Instagram stories, “Worst pain ever...to see my mama in a body bag on her birthday, my heart so fuckin’ broke.”
TMZ further reports:
Sam says he was checking in with Frankie daily, trying to help her stay clean...a well-documented battle that Keyshia and co. had captured and shared publicly in recent years... via television, social media and other channels.
Sam also says the family wants the world to remember Frankie as someone who loved her kids, and who wanted her children to be together...despite their turbulent history.
Keyshia, who was adopted by family friends Leon and Yvonne Cole, has been open in sharing her journey and complicated relationship with her biological mother via docuseries Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is, Frankie & Neffie (with Keyshia’s sister Neffeteria Pugh) as well as a more recent show in 2019, Keyshia Cole: My New Life. Keyshia’s biological father is former boxer-turned-coach Virgil Hunter.
“If I die today you’re going to move on and you’ve got to make it. You’ve got to live for Keyshia,” Frankie told Keyshia during a particularly emotional conversation. “You have to live for you and your family; not nobody else. You don’t have to do nothin’ but die and pay taxes, but you have to move on if anything happens to me. At the end of the day you’ll see me later. Up there.”
The Root has reached out to Keyshia Cole’s representative for official comment and we are awaiting a response. Our condolences and thoughts go out to Keyshia and her family.
If you are battling drug addiction and need assistance, you can obtain 24-hour, confidential and free assistance in regards to substance use treatment and more information via SAMHSA National Hotline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357).
Updated: 7/23/2021 at 9:01 a.m. ET:
On Thursday, Keyshia Cole paid tribute to her late biological mother Frankie via her Instagram page.
“This is so hard man,” Keyshia wrote in the caption, alongside a slideshow of pictures with Frankie. “Can’t really even find the words. SMH. I honestly don’t even know how to feel. You can never prepare for something like this... Ever!!! but you will be missed.”
Keyshia thanked her fans as well as Frankie’s fans for their support as she and her family grieve this tragic news.
“For weeks I’ve been quoting you, from the goose that laid the golden egg, to calling Neffe shoes slow burners, cause they were bought scuffed up already 😩 your humor was unmatched!!! Naturally so funny, that’s what I loved about your personality.... we all did,” Cole continued.
May Frankie rest in power.