Singer Etta James Dies At 73 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Singer Etta James Dies At 73

Photo courtesy MSNBC Photo courtesy MSNBC

MSNBC.COM - Etta James' performance of the enduring classic "At Last" was the embodiment of refined soul: Angelic-sounding strings harkened the arrival of her passionate yet measured vocals as she sang tenderly about a love finally realized after a long and patient wait.

In real life, little about James was as genteel as that song. The platinum blonde's first hit was a saucy R&B number about sex, and she was known as a hell-raiser who had tempestuous relationships with her family, her men and the music industry. Then she spent years battling a drug addiction that she admitted sapped away at her great talents.

The 73-year-old died on Friday at Riverside Community Hospital, with her husband and sons at her side, De Leon said.

"It's a tremendous loss for her fans around the world," he said. "She'll be missed. A great American singer. Her music defied category."

She had been hospitalized earlier in the year. although she had returned home on Jan. 5. James had been ill for some time.

James' spirit could not be contained — perhaps that's what made her so magnetic in music; it is surely what made her so dynamic as one of R&B, blues and rock 'n' roll's underrated legends.

"The bad girls ... had the look that I liked," she wrote in her 1995 autobiography, "Rage to Survive." "I wanted to be rare, I wanted to be noticed, I wanted to be exotic as a Cotton Club chorus girl, and I wanted to be obvious as the most flamboyant hooker on the street. I just wanted to be."

"It's a tremendous loss for her fans around the world," he said. "She'll be missed. A great American singer. Her music defied category." click here to read more

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