The legendary performer Etta James has died at the age of 73. In 2010 she was diagnosed with leukemia, and according to CNN her longtime friend and manager, Lupe De Leon, has now confirmed her death. She was also suffering from dementia and hepatitis C at the time of her death. James was at a hospital in Riverside, California when she died.
In her lifetime she opened for the Rolling Stones, won six Grammys, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and even conquered a heroin addiction. She also may have given the world its most beloved wedding song, "At Last."
Michael Coyle, a Colgate University professor who has written about jazz and R&B, said, "She never really got her moment in the sun. [But] by the mid-'90s, she's survived so long that people start to look up to her." In 2009 Beyoncé sang "At Last" at Barack Obama's inaugural ball, which she had previously done (having portrayed the singer in Cadillac Records)—this was followed by James declaring, "I can't stand Beyoncé. She had no business up there singing my song that I've been singing forever." Though she later said she was joking.
De Leon released a statement saying, "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 is survived by a husband and two sons, who are currently fighting over her $1 million estate.