Laurent Rebours, Associated Press
Natalie Cole

Grammy-winning singer Natalie Cole has been diagnosed with hepatitis C, her publicist said in a statement Wednesday.

Hepatitis C is a liver disease spread through contact with infected blood. The statement said the disease was revealed during a routine examination and was likely caused by her drug use years ago.

"I've been so fortunate to have learned so much from my past experiences," Cole said. "I am embraced by the love and support of my family and friends; I am committed to my belief in myself and in my abiding faith to meet this challenge with a heartfelt optimism and determination. This is how I intend to deal with this current challenge in my life."

Her physician at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Dr. Graham Woolf, said Cole has had a "terrific response to her medication and is now virus negative."