Etta James Dies at 73

Etta James, Powerful Voice Behind At Last, Dies at 73

Etta James, whose powerful, versatile and emotionally direct voice could enliven the raunchiest blues as well as the subtlest love songs, most indelibly in her signature hit, “At Last,” died Friday morning in Riverside, Calif. She was 73.

She died from complications from leukemia with her husband, Artis Mills, and her sons by her side, her longtime friend and manager Lupe De Leon said.

She was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010, and also suffered from dementia and hepatitis C. James died at a hospital in Riverside, California. She would have turned 74 Wednesday.

The powerhouse singer, known as “Miss Peaches,” first hit the charts as a teenager, taking The Wallflower (Roll With Me, Henry) to No. 1 on the R&B charts in 1955. She joined Chess Records in 1960 and had a string of R&B and pop hits, many with lush string arrangements. After a mid-decade fade, she re-emerged in 1967 with a more hard-edged, soulful sound.

James’ crowning achievement was winning six Grammys and was voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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