So sad. Legendary singer, Etta James has passed away at the age of 73 after a long struggle with leukemia. Her longtime friend and manager, Lupe De Leon, confirmed the news to CNN: “This is a tremendous loss for the family, her friends and fans around the world. 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.”
She was known for her incredible voice, and of course one of her hits, “At Last”. Bonnie Raitt once told Rolling Stone, “There’s a lot going on in Etta James’s voice. A lot of pain, a lot of life but, most of all, a lot of strength. She can be so raucous and down one song, and then break your heart with her subtlety and finesse the next. As raw as Etta is, there’s a great intelligence and wisdom in her singing.” So true. In memory of James, watch her performing “At Last” below.
According to the Associated Press, singer Etta James is terminally ill. Over the past few years, she’s faced many health problems, but now sadly it looks as though the end is near for the 73-year old.
The “At Last” singer’s chronic leukemia was declared incurable two weeks ago. Her livin-in doctor, Dr. Elaine James (no relation to the singer) told The Press Enterprise the sad news. In addition to the leukemia, James has been suffering from dementia and kidney failure. I first learned of this sad news this weekend when talking to Vancouver’s most famed Drag Queen (and one of my favorites), Joan E. at a Christmas party this weekend.
You may remember that Beyonce sang Etta James’ “At Last” (one of my favorite “old” songs) at the inauguration of Barack Obama. What you may not know is that when Etta James performed at a concert in Seattle, she told people how she really felt about Beyonce singing her song: “The great Beyoncé. 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.”
Watch James performing her song (as well as Beyonce’s performance) below.
The Lyte Funky Ones, aka LFO, lost one their own yesterday. Rich Cronin, the former lead singer of the band, passed away after a long battle with leukemia. He was first diagnosed with the disease in March 2005. After initial treatment was successful, he went into remission in January 2006. To promote blood and bone marrow donation, he developed his own foundation, The Rich Cronin Hope Foundation. His passing occurred just two weeks after his 35th birthday.
Cronin and his boy band hit it big with their ubiquitous summer hit “Summer Girls” in 1999. They had another moderate hit, “Girl On TV“, but remained mostly a one-hit wonder. When his cancer went into remission, Cronin participated in the short-lived VH1 series, “Mission: Man Band” where he joined forces with Jeff Timmons (98 Degrees), Chris Kirkpatrick (*NSYNC) and the other Bryan Adams (Color Me Badd) to form a new band SureShot. The show documented their cumulative attempt at a comeback, but sadly nothing ever came to fruition.