January 20th, 2012
02:42 PM ET
Singing legend Etta James died Friday at the age of 73 from complications from leukemia.
James, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010 - and also suffered from dementia and hepatitis C - died with her husband, Artis Mills, and her sons by her side, her longtime friend and manager, Lupe De Leon, told CNN.
Fans of the singer, whose 1961 release “At Last” has since become a favorite at weddings, continue to share their memories of James and her music:
“Etta James was a pioneer,” Terry Stewart, president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, told CNN. “Her ever-changing sound has influenced rock and roll, rhythm and blues, pop, soul and jazz artists, marking her place as one of the most important female artists of our time. From Janis Joplin to Joss Stone, an incredible number of performers owe their debts to her. There is no mistaking the voice of Etta James, and it will live forever.”
New mom Beyonce, who portrayed James in the film "Cadillac Records," told CNN, "This is a huge loss. Etta James was one of the greatest vocalists of our time. I am so fortunate to have met such a queen. Her musical contributions will last a lifetime.
Playing Etta James taught me so much about myself, and singing her music inspired me to be a stronger artist. When she effortlessly opened her mouth, you could hear her pain and triumph. Her deeply emotional way of delivering a song told her story with no filter. She was fearless, and had guts. She will be missed."
Stars also reacted to the legend's passing on Twitter:
Was “At Last” your wedding song? Or was it otherwise special to you and your sweetheart? Help us pay tribute to James by sharing why the song means so much to you on iReport.
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