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Etta James died at 73.

Goodbye, Etta James.

written by: on January 21, 2012

Celebrated rhythm and blues singer Etta James died at Riverside Community Hospital in California on Friday morning. She was 73.

James’ manager Lupe De Leon “said that the cause was leukemia,” according to an article in the New York Times.  James “had been undergoing treatment for a number of conditions” at Riverside, where she also lived.

Over the course of James’ remarkable career she received four Grammy’s, as well as a life-time achievement honor in 2003.

James began singing at the St. Paul Baptist Church in Los Angeles at age five, and released her first record The Wallflower by age 15.

The Wallflower reached No. 2 on the rhythm and blues charts by 1954. In 1960, James was signed to Chess Records, a Chicago label that boasted greats such as Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters.

James was portrayed by Beyonce Knowles in the 2008 musical biopic Cadillac Records, which chronicled the historic rise of Leonard Chess’s eponymous label. Knowles won an NAACP Image Award for the role.

Despite James’ early success she did not gain mainstream notoriety until later in her life.

At times James struggled to find work and she did not have the “riches, multitude of platinum records or the hits that some of her peers enjoyed,” according to the Associated Press.

“She at least enjoyed a great resurgence like John Lee Hooker did and B.B. King, (and) has had some great decades of appreciation from new generations around the world,” said Bonnie Raitt, a close friend of James’ in an interview with the Associated Press Friday afternoon.

“There’s no one like her. No one will ever replace Etta.”