Legendary singer Etta James died this morning at a hospital in Riverside, California. According to her manager Lupe De Leon, the cause of death was complications from leukemia. James was just days away from her 74th birthday.
James was born in Los Angeles in 1938 and lived in Southern California for much of her life. It was as a child at the Saint Paul Baptist Church in South Central that James’ singing career began. Musician Johnny Otis discovered James when she was just a teenager, by some accounts while she was performing at a Los Angeles nightclub.
James was portrayed by Beyoncè Knowles in the 2008 film Cadillac Records. For the film soundtrack, Beyoncè recorded a cover of James’ hit song, “At Last.”
James moved from Los Angeles to Riverside in the late 1980s. She told the LA Times she relocated because she was “tired of burglar alarms on your car going off all night.”