Rest In Peace Soul Legend Etta James, 73
One of the most raw singers of the soul era, the always stirring Etta James, has passed away at 73 years old.
Young people may know of James through Beyoncé, who portrayed the singer in Cadillac Records (2008) and performed the classic “At Last” at one of President Barack Obama’s 2009 inaugural balls (never one to hold her tongue, James lashed out afterward: “I can’t stand Beyoncé. She had no business up there singing my song that I’ve been singing forever.”) She later told the New York Daily News she was joking.
James died from complications from leukemia, and also suffered from dementia and hepatitis C. According to CNN:
Over the years, James had her share of health problems. In the late 1990s she reportedly weighed more than 400 pounds and required a scooter to get around. In 2003 she had gastric bypass surgery and dropped more than half the weight, according to People magazine.
However, until her latest issues, James maintained a steady touring schedule and appeared full of energy even when sitting down — as she sometimes did on stage, due to bad knees and her weight battles.
“This is a tremendous loss for the family, her friends and fans around the world,” longtime friend and manager Lupe De Leon said. “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.”