Following a battle with leukaemia

Soul icon Etta James has passed away at the age of 73 following a length battle with leukaemia.

Etta James did things her own way. In an era when female talent was often shunted to one side, the singer maintained her independence and carved out an identity which remains seductive to this day.

Born Jamesetta Hawkins in 1938, Etta James found her voice - just like countless soul and blues singers - within the confines of the Baptist Church. Rooted in gospel, her strong yet subtle phrasing took her to Chess Records who signed her as a solo artist in 1960.

It would be pointless to list each of the high points of Etta James' career, such is the impact she had on blues, soul and - by extension - rock music. Later succumbing to heroin addiction, James kicked the drug in the mid 70s and enjoyed a revival in her career.

Continuing to perform and release new material, Etta James won her first Grammy award in 1994. Perhaps under-represented by the ceremony, the soul icon was later given the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.

Etta James' latter years were marked by ill health, with the singer bravely struggling against leukaemia for some time. Manager Lupe De Leon confirmed that James died this afternoon (January 20th) at Riverside Community Hospital in California - her husband and sons were at her side. (via BBC)

Etta James - Something's Got A Hold On Me

Etta James - At Last

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