RIVERSIDE, California – Etta James, the jazz singer known for her soulful song, “At Last” has died, her longtime manager and friend, Lupe De Leon, told CNN. The beloved star, born Jamesetta Hawkins, lost her battle with leukemia at the age of 73.
James leaves behind two sons, Donto and Sametto James, who have been embroiled in a legal battle with her husband, Artis Mills over decisions regarding her health care.
She also suffered from dementia, Hepatitis C, kidney problems and organic brain problems, according to documents filed by her husband. Mills was named James’ conservator last month, but had to equally share “end of life” decisions with her sons.
The judge also limited how much of James’ estate Mills could spend, and said he could not “encumber” her music catalog.
Throughout her career, James overcame a heroin addiction, opened for the Rolling Stones, won six Grammys and was voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Despite her ups and downs, she maintained an optimistic attitude. She was portrayed by Beyonce Knowles in the movie Cadillac Records.
James’ popular song “At Last” has been an anthem played at weddings around the world and her final album, “The Dreamer,” was released in November 2011.
“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,” De Leon told CNN.
RIP Etta James, you will be missed.