Posted: Jan 20 2012
LOS ANGELES- The legendary blues singer Etta James, who became famous for her song ‘At Last’, has died on Friday at the Riverside Community Hospital due to complications of leukemia. Her husband and her sons were at her bedside. She was 73 years old.
“It’s a tremendous loss for her fans around the world,” her manager Lupe De Leon said. “She’ll be missed. A great American singer. Her music defied category.”
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Outside the music industry, she was known as a hot tempered woman and her not-so-perfect relationships with her family, her men and the industry itself.
She also struggled with a drug addiction for years that she admitted made her professional career suffer.
Jamesette Hawkins, in real life, was discovered by the legendary Johnny Otis on a street corner in San Francisco singing with her friends during the 1950s.
She was raised with jazz and christian influences thanks to Lula and Jesse Rogers, who owned the rooming house where her mother once lived in.
When Otis heard her James sing, he told her to get her mother’s permission to accompany him to Los Angeles to make a recording. Instead, the 15-year-old singer forged her mother’s name on a note claiming she was 18.
Beyonce portrayed James in “Cadillac Records,” a big-screen retelling of Chess Records’ heyday, and had started to claim “At Last” as her own. During President Obama’s inauguration, it was Beyonce, not James who sang ‘At Last’ as the first couple danced.
She is survived by her husband and her sons.
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