US singer Etta James dies aged 73

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Etta James in 2006.
Image: John K. Addis.

Legendary soul singer Etta James died aged 73 yesterday at Riverside Community Hospital in Riverside, California after a long battle with leukemia. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2009.

James was born in Los Angeles, California as Jamesetta Hawkins on January 25, 1938. She is best known for her 1961 hit At Last. She gained prominence following the success of All I Could Do Was Cry, At last, and Trust in Me. She won six Grammy Awards.

In the 1960's, James developed addiction to heroin and later to cocaine in the 1970's. Despite personal problems, James reinvented herself with the 1988 album Seven Year Itch. Actress Beyoncé Knowles played James in the film Cadillac Records in 2008.

James is survived by her husband Artis Mills, and her sons Donto and Sametto.