Blues legend [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Etta James[/lastfm], born Jamesetta Hawkins, has died today at the age of 73. The 73-year-old had recently been hospitalized for breathing trouble after being diagnosed with terminal leukemia.
Etta’s signature hit was the classic favorite “At Last,” though she had numerous hits in the 1950s and ’60s. Other hits included “Trust In Me,” Something’s Got a Hold On Me,” “Sunday Kind of Love” and “All I Could Do Was Cry.”
In 1961, “At Last” put Etta James on the map.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked James #22 on their list of 100 greatest singers of all time. The 3-time GRAMMY winner got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003.
In 2008, James was portrayed by Beyonce Knowles in the movie Cadillac Records. James knocked [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Beyonce[/lastfm]‘s performance, though James’ son attributed the critique to “drug-induced dementia.” The pop star also sang “At Last” for the president and first lady during their first dance at the 2009 inaugural festivities.
James battled obesity and a heroin addiction that interrupted her career earlier on. Her health declined dramatically in recent years. Complicating matters, her sons and husband argued over managing her $1 million estate and medical care.
“I want for my mother the best care possible. I mean, that’s just it. That’s my mother,” Donto James said.
James died at Riverside Community Hospital with her husband and sons by her side.
“It is a tremendous loss for her fans around the world,” De Leon said. “She’ll be missed. A great American singer. Her music defied category.”
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