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Who is Virgil Hunter, Keyshia Cole’s father? Family life explored after tragic loss

Bruno Cooke July 20, 2021
virgil hunter keyshia cole
Photo by Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for BET


Who is Keyshia Cole’s biological father, Virgil Hunter? Cole’s mother, Francine “Frankie” Lons, passed away on her 61st birthday after an enduring struggle with addiction, her family told TMZ yesterday, and the tragic news has revived interest in the singer’s family life.

Who is Keyshia Cole’s father, Virgil Hunter?

In 2016, at the age of 34, singer, songwriter, actress and television personality Keyshia Myeshia Cole learned the identity of her biological father.

Initial reports quoted Cole’s Instagram post announcing the news, in which she describes her and her father “finding our way to each other”.

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“I knew at that time, a paternity test was in place, well the results are in, and this is my father!! His name is Virgil Hunter, and at this present time, I’m in Oakland spending time, getting to know him!”

What happened when she found her dad?

Formerly, Cole apparently treated her mother, Frankie Lons’s, husband as a father figure, but reconnecting with her biological dad was an imperative she could not ignore.

According to reports, a subsequent DNA test proved that Hunter is Keyshia Cole’s father, and her two parents subsequently met for the first time in over three decades.

Photo by Bryan Steffy/WireImage

She posted pictures of her mother and father in their younger days to her Instagram feed. In the caption, she wrote that her mother “was such a cutie”. She said it was “a lot to process”.

“I can tell my heart pumps his blood.”

Hunter on reuniting with his biological daughter

Hunter, who is a boxing coach from the US, spoke to Dontae’s Boxing Nation about being united with his daughter after such a long time.

He said, “through some friends, and pictures, and other confirmations”, Cole had tracked him down. When they met, she asked him “a lot of questions” in order to validate his identity.

His answers, he says, matched those she expected to hear. “She looked at me”, he said, “and said I know you’re my father.”

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However, Cole later deleted the Instagram posts announcing the result of the paternity test. In addition to this, her mother later reneged on the notion that Virgil Hunter might be her daughter’s father.

On a December 2019 episode of Cole’s Fox Soul talk show, Frankie Lons insisted that Keyshia’s father was in fact an Italian, caucasian man who had been dead for several years.

Who is Virgil Hunter?

Hunter is a successful boxing coach – described as a “living legend” in the sport. 

Premier Boxing Champions extolled his abilities as a trainer in June this year in a piece about his work with WBA World Super Lightweight Champion Mario “El Azteca” Barrios.

During the interview, Hunter muses on the importance of shadowboxing, timing and defensive mechanisms. 

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If you keep focus on what’s going on inside the ring, you’re able to deal with the adversity that’s coming your way.”

In 2012, he narrowly missed out on Bad Left Hook’s Trainer of the Year award. In the event, it went to Robert Garcia, who was himself a professional boxer between 1992 and 2001.

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or