“At Last” singer Etta James died Friday from leukemia — but her musical influence lives on.
Legendary singer Etta James has died from complications of leukemia, her manager confirmed. She was 73 years old.
“This is a tremendous loss for the family, her friends and fans around the world,” said friend and manager Lupe De Leon. “She was a true original who could sing it all — her music defied category.”
“I worked with Etta for over 30 years. She was my friend and I will miss her always.”
De Leon said the singer passed with her husband, Artis Mills, and her sons at her side.
Countless couples have begun their married lives together swaying to “At Last” as their first dance at their wedding receptions, but the icon’s musical catalogue held much more than her most famous song. “The Wallflower,” “Something’s Got a Hold on Me,” “I’d Rather Go Blind” and “Tell Mama,” among many others, sent James’ lusty voice into the homes of millions of fans around the world.
“At Last” was featured as the song President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama danced to at the Inauguration Ball — but instead of being flattered that her tune was chosen, James was livid that Beyoncé, rather than her, was asked to sing it. Beyoncé was asked largely because of her knockout performance as James in the film Cadillac Records.
“You know, your President, the one with the big ears — he ain’t my President — had that woman singing for him at his Inauguration,” she said. “She’s going to get her ass whooped. How dare Beyoncé sing my song that I been singing forever,” she ranted.
“The great Beyoncé,” James continued. “Like I said, she ain’t mine. I can’t stand Beyoncé. She has no business up there, singing up there on a big ol’ president day, gonna be singing my song that I’ve been singing forever.”
James later dismissed her comments as a joke.
The singer has suffered a host of health problems in recent years, including dementia, hepatitis C and leukemia. She leaves behind her husband and two sons Donto and Sametto.