She was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010, and also suffered from dementia and hepatitis C. James died at a hospital in Riverside, California. She would have turned 74 Wednesday.Read the full story at CNN, and listen to her classic, "I'd Rather Go Blind," below:
" This is a tremendous loss for the family, her friends and fans around the world," De Leon said. "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." 2003: Etta James reflects on her career
The powerhouse singer, known as "Miss Peaches," lived an eventful life. She first hit the charts as a teenager, taking "The Wallflower (Roll With Me, Henry)" -- an "answer record" to Hank Ballard's "Work With Me, Annie" -- to No. 1 on the R&B charts in 1955. She joined Chess Records in 1960 and had a string of R&B and pop hits, many with lush string arrangements. After a mid-decade fade, she re-emerged in 1967 with a more hard-edged, soulful sound.
Throughout her career, James overcame a heroin addiction, opened for the Rolling Stones, won six Grammys and was voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Despite her ups and downs -- including a number of health problems -- she maintained an optimistic attitude. "Most of the songs I sing, they have that blue feeling to it. They have that sorry feeling. And I don't know what I'm sorry about," she told CNN's Denise Quan in 2002. "I don't!"
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