Etta James Dead at 73 in Riverside
The Los Angeles native and longtime resident passed away at Riverside Community Hospital, a medical center near her most recent residence in Riverside, where she had been receiving 24/7 in-home care. She was also suffering from dementia while facing nasty money grabs by her husband.
James' manager tells the Associated Press that she was declared dead early this morning.
James reached the height of her fame in the 1960s, bridging the gap between blues and rock 'n' roll with a slew of hits including "All I Could Do Was Cry" and "Tell Mama" -- but her most immortal ballad to this day is, hands down, "At Last."
The singer's final televised performance was in April 2009, on "Dancing With the Stars." Her voice was as deep and rich as ever:
James' glamorous (and oftentimes tragic) career was given new life by Beyonce Knowles in the last couple years, when the young singer and actress played James in 2008 biopic "Cadillac Records." Kind of strange, considering the original was still alive to see her highs and lows dramatized on screen.
Knowles also did a rendition of "At Last" for President Obama's inauguration ceremony in 2009, which was even stranger, seeing as James was perfectly capable of performing the song herself. And she certainly let Beyonce, and the rest of the world, know as much.
R.I.P. to a heartbreaking voice and unbreakable soul. More on LA Weekly's music blog.