Singer Etta James Dead at 73

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.

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