Legendary blues and R&B singer Etta James died Friday morning from complications of leukemia, son Donto James announced in a press statement. James, who was 73, had battled failing health for many years. In addition to leukemia, James also reportedly suffered from kidney failure and dementia.
Etta James died early Friday morning at Riverside Community Hospital in California, according to her manager, Lupe De Leon. The “At Last” singer was diagnosed with leukemia last January and her cancer was announced as terminal in December by her doctors. James died surrounded by her family, with husband Artis Mills and her two sons, Donto and Sametto, by her bedside.
â€œItâ€™s a tremendous loss for her fans around the world,â€ De Leon said. â€œSheâ€™ll be missed. A great American singer. Her music defied category.â€
According to court records, Etta James also suffered from kidney failure and dementia and was under 24 hour care in the months leading up to her death. Her two sons had been engaged in a nasty court battle with their stepfather over conservatorship of the singer’s estate.
Etta James was an inductee into the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Blues Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. She won six Grammy Awards and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.
“She will forever be remembered for her timeless ballad, ‘At Last,’ and a powerful voice that will echo around the world for generations to come,” the Recording Academy said in a press statement. “We extend our deepest sympathies to her family, friends, fans and all who have been stirred by her soulful songs and passion for music.”