Family and friends paid tribute to Tracy Cole, the great-nephew of legendary jazz pianist and singer Nat King Cole, after he was fatally stabbed outside his Atlanta apartment on September 14.
Cole was born into a musically inclined family. His grandfather, Freddy Cole, was also a legendary jazz pianist and singer, and the deceased 31-year-old served as his personal manager and valet during the musician’s world tours. Cole was also the great-nephew of Freddy Cole’s brother, Nat King Cole.
Camille Love, who is a family friend, showered praises on Cole’s personality and said he was inseparable from his grandfather. “I met Tacy probably when his grandfather brought him to the Nancy Wilson concert at Chastain Park during the Atlanta Jazz Festival,” Love said. “He was delightful, you know? He was just kind, gentle, easy-going. Liked the good life. You know, just an all-around good guy.”
Love also said Cole was a popular person who was loved by many people. “He was kinda like a Bon Vivant, you know? He had grown up in the shadow of Freddy, but Freddy allowed him to share that shadow. And then when his grandfather passed on, he came into his own self… He was everywhere and a lot of people loved him,” said Love.
The deceased 31-year-old was also a well-known member of the Atlanta cigar community. In an Instagram post, Atlanta Cigar Week said the cigar community is “deeply saddened by the loss of such a vibrant sole.”
“Always laughing, always smiling with his corny jokes. Everybody loved him,” Cole’s friend Octavia Oliver told FOX 5 Atlanta. “He was one of those guys who was always around with positive energy and it was always so good to be around Tracy,” another friend, Henry Stokes, said.
Cole worshipped at Atlanta’s Cascade United Methodist Church. Senior Pastor Kevin Murriel said Cole had “that personality that just really transcended culture, it transcended race, it transcended class.”
“Tracy made a friend of everyone. He was family. He was more than a young man in the community. He was that child who walked the floors and aisles of the church. He just brought an abundance of joy everywhere he went,” Murriel added.
Meanwhile, Cole’s family are pleading with the public to help get justice for their deceased relative. “Please come forward if you know anything that can help this investigation move forward,” Cole’s uncle, Lionel Cole, told WSB-TV. “It’s not turning on someone. It’s doing the right thing.”
Lionel Cole also said his nephew’s laughter and peaceful spirit will be missed.