R&B great Etta James, best known for her classic song "At Last," has died from chronic leukemia. She was 73.
James had been struggling with the disease for several years. She died at a hospital in Riverside, Calif. with her husband of 41 years, Artis Mills, and her sons by her side.
Etta's longtime friend and manager, Lupe De Leon, said, "This is a tremendous loss for the family, her friends and fans around the world. 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."
James was considered one of the most celebrated American blues singers, with enduring hits like "At Last," "Tell Mama" and "I'd Rather Go Blind."
Her career was at times overshadowed by drug addiction, troubled love relationships and health and legal problems. Despite the ups and downs, Etta overcame heroin addiction, opened for the Rolling Stones, won six Grammys and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
Etta was born Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles to a teen mother. The identity of her father is unknown, although she suspected her father was the famous pool player, Minnesota Fats. James received her first professional singing lesson at age five and was discovered by legendary blues producer Johnny Otis, who passed away earlier this month at age 90.
James is survived by her husband and two sons, Donto and Sametto.
Donto has been involved in a protracted legal battle with Mills regarding who will be named the estate's conservator and/or executor.
In Memoriam 2011
"M*A*S*H" star Harry Morgan died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/12/mash_star_harry_morgan_dead_at_96.php] at the age of 96 on December 7, after suffering from pneumonia.
Comedian Patrice O'Neal died at the age of 41 [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/11/charlie_sheen_others_pay_tribute_to_comedian_patrice_oneal.php] on November 29, from complications of a previous stroke.
British director Ken Russell died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/11/director_ken_russell_dead_at_84.php] at the age of 84 on November 27, from a stroke.
"Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi's boyfriend Theodore Forstmann died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/11/padma_lakshmis_billionaire_boyfriend_dies.php] at the age of 71 on November 20, from brain cancer.
Rapper Heavy D, also known as Dwight Arrington Myers, died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/11/rapper_heavy_d_dead_at_44.php] at the age of 44 on November 8, reportedly from pneumonia.
Boxing champ Joe Frazier died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/11/boxing_champ_joe_frazier_dead_at_67.php] at the age of 67 on November 7, from liver cancer.
"60 Minutes" legend Andy Rooney died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/11/andy_rooney_dead_at_92.php] at the age of 96 on November 4, from minor surgery complications.
Academy Awards producer Gil Cates [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/remembered/index.php?page=2] died on October 31. The exact cause of his death is unknown.
English singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/07/amy_winehouse_found_dead_in_london.php] at the age of 27 on July 23, from alcohol poisoning.
Racing pro Dan Wheldon died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/10/indycar_racer_dan_wheldon_dies_in_fiery_15-car_wreck.php] at the age of 33 on October 16, after a 15-car wreck at the Indy 300 in Las Vegas.
Apple genius Steve Jobs [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/10/apple_guru_steve_jobs_dead_at_56.php] died at the age of 56 on October 5, from respiratory arrest stemming from his long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Former Weezer bassist Mikey Welsh died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/10/weezer_bassist_welsh_dead_at_40_foretold_his_death.php] at the age of 40 on October 8, from a suspected drug overdose leading to a heart attack.
Raiders owner Al Davis died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/10/raiders_owner_al_davis_dead_at_82.php] at the age of 82 on October 8, from heart failure.
"Rambo" actor Charles Napier died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/10/rambo_actor_charles_napier_dead_at_75.php] at the age of 75 on October 6, after reportedly suffering from blood clots in his leg.
Former singer Dolores Hope, widow of the late comedian Bob Hope, died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/09/dolores_hope_widow_of_bob_hope_dead_at_102.php] at the age of 102 on September 19.
"Spartacus" star Andy Whitfield died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/09/spartacus_star_andy_whitfield_dead_at_39.php] at the age of 39 on September 11, from non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Cliff Robertson, who most recently played Uncle Ben in the "Spider-Man" films, died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/09/cliff_robertson_uncle_ben_in_spider_man_dead_at_88.php] at the age of 88 on September 10, from natural causes.
"Treme" star Michael Showers died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/08/treme_star_michael_showers_found_dead.php] at the age of 45 on August 24, from drowning. His body was found floating in the Mississippi River.
Prolific songwriter Nick Ashford of Ashford & Simpson died [Read more: https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/08/songwriting_giant_nick_ashford_dead_at_age_70.php#ixzz1haBtFffQ] at the age of 70 on August 22, from throat cancer.
"Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Taylor Armstrong's estranged husband, Russell Armstrong, committed suicide [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/08/real_housewives_husband_russell_armstrong_commits_suicide.php] at the age of 47 on August 15.
Lead singer of Warrant, Jani Lane died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/08/rocker_jani_lane_found_dead.php] at the age of 47 on August 11, from acute alcohol poisoning.
"Grease" star Annette Charles died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/08/annette_charles_cha_cha_from_grease_is_dead.php] at the age of 63 on August 3, from cancer.
"Police Academy" actor Bubba Smith died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/08/police_academy_actor_bubba_smith_dead_at_66.php] at the age of 66 on August 3, from acute drug intoxication and heart disease.
"Brady Bunch" and "Gilligan" creator Sherwood Schwartz died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/07/brady_bunch_creator_sherwood_schwartz_dead_at_94.php] at the age of 94 on July 12, due to natural causes.
Former First Lady Betty Ford, who founded the famous addiction center that bears her name, died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/07/betty_ford_dead_at_93.php] at the age of 93 on July 8, from natural causes.
"Colombo" star Peter Falk died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/06/columbo_star_peter_falk_dead_at_age_83.php] at the age of 83 on June 23, from cardiorespiratory arrest, with pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease as underlying causes.
"Jackass" star Ryan Dunn died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/06/jackass_star_ryan_dunn_killed_in_car_crash.php] at the age of 34 on June 24, from a car crash after driving under the influence.
Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band member and close friend Clarence Clemons died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/06/springsteens_saxophonist_clarence_clemons_dies_at_69.php] at the age of 69 on June 18, from complications caused by a previous stroke.
"Gunsmoke" star James Arness died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/06/gunsmoke_star_james_arness_dead_at_88.php] at the age of 88 on June 3, from natural causes.
Known for his lifelong crusade to legalize physician-assisted suicide, Dr. Jack Kevorkian died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/06/dr_death_jack_kevorkian_dies_at_83.php] at the age of 83 on June 3, from pulmonary thrombosis, a complication of a kidney-related ailment.
"The Cosby Show" actress Clarice Taylor died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/06/cosby_show_actress_clarice_taylor_dies.php] at the age of 93 on May 30, from heart failure.
"Grease" actor Jeff Conaway died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/05/grease_actor_jeff_conaway_dead_at_60.php] at the age of 60 on May 27, from pneumonia with sepsis.
Famed wrestler Randy "Macho Man" Savage died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/05/wrestler_macho_man_randy_savage_dead_at_58.php] at the age of 58 on May 20, from a car accident.
Beautiful plus-size model Mia Amber Davis died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/05/plus-size_model_mia_davis_dead_at_36.php] at the age of 36 on May 10, after undergoing routine knee surgery in L.A.
"Poetry Man" singer Phoebe Snow died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/04/poetry_man_singer_phoebe_snow_dies.php] at the age of 60 on April 26, from complications of a previous brain hemorrhage.
Filmmaker and photojournalist Tim Hetheringon died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/04/photojournalist_tim_hetherington_killed_in_libya.php] at the age of 41 on April 20, when he was in Libya covering the conflict. He was killed by mortar shells fired by Libyan forces.
Film legend Elizabeth Taylor, one of the greatest beauties to ever grace the big screen, and one of the most benevolent, died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/03/silver_screen_goddess_elizabeth_taylor_dead_at_79.php] at the age of 79 on March 23, from congestive heart failure.
Nathaniel D. Hale, better known as rap singer Nate Dogg, died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/03/rapper_nate_dogg_dead_at_41.php] at the age of 41 on March 15, from health complications after suffering from two strokes in 2007 and 2008.
Former Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/03/rocker_mike_starr_dead_at_44.php] at the age of 44 on March 8, from taking the prescription drug Xanax and alcohol.
Veteran actress Jane Russell, best known for films "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "The Outlaw," died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/02/jane_russell_bombshell_dies_at_89.php] at the age of 89 on February 28, from respiratory failure.
Len Lesser, best known as crazy Uncle Leo in the hit '90s show "Seinfeld," died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/02/seinfelds_uncle_leo_dead_at_88.php] at the age of 88 on February 16, from cancer.
Controversial French actress Maria Schneider, best known for her infamous role opposite Marlon Brando in "Last Tango in Paris," died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/02/last_tango_star_maria_schneider_dies_at_58.php] at the age of 58 on February 3, from cancer.
Charlie Callas, the zany comedian best known for his work with Mel Brooks, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/01/charlie_callas_comedian_dies_83.php] at the age of 83 on January 27, from natural causes.
Fitness legend Jack LaLanne, best known for his long-running "The Jack LaLanne Show" and to another generation as a TV pitchman of juicers, died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/01/jack_lalanne_dead_at_96.php]at the age of 96 on January 23, from respiratory failure due to pneumonia.
Peace Corps founder and former vice presidential candidate Robert Sargent Shriver died [https://extratv.warnerbros.com/2011/01/sargent_shriver_dies_at_95.php] at the age of 95 on January 18. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2003.