Etta James, well-known for such hits as “The Wallflower,” “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” and the wedding favorite “At Last,” has died in California, CNN reports.
As a close friend of the legend revealed, the singer died from complications from leukemia leukemia with her husband, Artis Mills, and her sons by her side in at Riverside Community Hospital, California.
The woman who also suffered from kidney diseases and dementia, was admitted to hospital last month as she was struggling to breathe. She had been in failing health for several years, says the Huff Post.
“This is a tremendous loss for the family, her friends and fans around the world,” 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,” he added.
Etta James, also known as “Miss Peaches,” lived quite an interesting and eventful life. She first appeared in the charts being a teenager, and took “The Wallflower (Roll With Me, Henry)” – an “answer record” to Hank Ballard’s “Work With Me, Annie” – to No. 1 on the R&B charts in 1955.
Later she joined Chess Records and had a string of R&B and pop hits.
The talented singer had plenty of achievements throughout her career: won six Grammys and was voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Despite having lots of ups as well as downs, the “At Last” singer maintained an optimistic attitude.
“Most of the songs I sing, they have that blue feeling to it. They have that sorry feeling. And I don’t know what I’m sorry about,” she told reporters in 2002. “I don’t!”
“I was trying to be cool,” she said in 1995, explaining why she was addicted to heroin for years.
“I hung out in Harlem and saw Miles Davis and all the jazz cats,” she described the first time when she tried drugs. “At one time, my heavy role models were all druggies. Billie Holiday sang so groovy. Is that because she’s on drugs? It was in my mind as a young person. I probably thought I was a young Billie Holiday, doing whatever came with that.”
The death of Etta James was a hard loss to the music world, many celebrities have paid tribute to the passed away legend.
“Etta James was one of the greatest vocalists of our time. I am so fortunate to have met such a queen,” Beyoncé wrote on her blog.
“Her musical contributions will last a lifetime,” she added. “When she effortlessly opened her mouth, you could hear her pain and triumph. Her deeply emotional way of delivering a song told her story with no filter. She was fearless, and she had guts. She will be missed.”
“Etta James was one of the great soul singers of our generation,” added Motown icon Aretha Franklin. “An American original! I loved ‘Pushover,’ ‘At Last’ and almost any and everything she recorded. When Etta SUNG, you heard it!”
“RIP to the late and great Etta James,” wrote Pink. “Your voice and your fight inspired me and many. I love that through recordings, people can live forever.”
British singer Adele named James as one of her favorite singers, along with Aretha Franklin.
“If you were to look up the word singer in the dictionary, you’d see their names,” Adele said in an interview.