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Etta James, Bluesy Soul Songstress, Dead at 73
Etta James, the soulful American singer whose powerful voice famously crooned the classic "At Last," has died, just five days ahead of her 74th birthday. Her death was confirmed by her longtime manager and friend, Lupe De Leon, according to KTLA.
James was a native Angeleno; born in 1938 in L.A. as Jamesetta Hawkins, she first became involved in singing at St. Paul's Baptist Church. As a teen she formed a girl group and met Johnny Otis, who took James and the girls under his wing. (Otis died three days ago, on January 17th, at age 90.)
James' singing style evolved over the years, from doo-wop and R&B to jazz. She later suffered addiction, imprisonment, and illness, the latter of which claimed her last few years as she battled leukemia, dementia, and other ailments. Last year she was confined to her Riverside home, while her relatives fought public legal battles about her estate.
Etta James is survived by her two sons, Donto and Sametto, both who performed with their mother.