Singer Etta James is dead at 73


LOS ANGELES — Etta James, the legendary rhythm and blues singer, has died, her son said Friday.

She was 73 and had been in failing health for years.
She died at a Southern California hospital about 8 a.m., her son Donto
James said.

“Me and my brother were right there,” he said.

Weeks ago, her doctor announced that James had
chronic leukemia. Court records in the singer’s probate case show she
also suffered from dementia and kidney failure. Her two sons had been in
a court battle with their stepfather over conservatorship of her
$1-million estate.

James spent time in a detox facility for addiction to
painkillers and over-the-counter medications, Donto James told Reuters
in 2010. And she had wrestled with complications since undergoing
gastric bypass surgery in 2002 to remedy a lifelong struggle with her

James’ six-decade recording career began at the top
of the R&B charts when her bawdy 1955 single “The Wallflower,”
better known as “Roll With Me Henry,” quickly made her a national star.

She is best known for “At Last,” the powerhouse
ballad that became a hit in 1961 and which has been enshrined in the
Grammy Hall of Fame. She also is inextricably connected with “I’d Rather
Go Blind,” which conveys the desperation of a woman who prefers losing
her sight to seeing her man with someone else.


%uFFFD2012 the Los Angeles Times

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