Singing Legend Etta James Dies At 73
73-year-old singing legend Etta James passed away today, just five days before her birthday, at the Riverside Community Hospital in California from complications of leukemia. “This is a tremendous loss for the family, her friends and fans around the world,” said her longtime friend and manager, Lupe De Leon, who confirmed the news to CNN. “She was a true original who could sing it all – her music defied category. I worked with Etta for over 30 years. She was my friend and I will miss her always.”
Born Jamesetta Hawkins, Etta was discovered in 1954 by the “Godfather of Rhythm and Blues,” Johnny Otis, who gave the singer her stage name. During the span of her career, she won over 30 awards and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Blues Hall of Fame, and the Grammy Hall of Fame. In 2008, Beyoncé played a young Etta in the biopic “Cadillac Records.”
James, who was suffering from dementia, Hepatitis C, and chronic leukemia, was declared terminally ill in December of last year. The soul and blues singer, best known for the 1961 classic “At Last,” died with her husband Artis Mills and two sons at her side.