Her voice has been heard in commercials, movies and countless weddings.
R&B legend and South Los Angeles native Etta James died today at a Riverside hospital of complications from leukemia. She was 73.
James died at 8 a.m. at Parkview Community Hospital, according to the Riverside County Coroner's Office.
The entertainer, known for such hits as "At Last," "Tell Mama" and "Loser Weepers," would have been 74 on Wednesday.
News of James' passing traveled fast on the Web. Glendora's own music icon, of Beach Boys fame called James "A one of a kind original against all odds," via his Facebook page.
The Los Angeles City Council adjourned its meeting today in memory of James, who began singing as a child at St. Paul Baptist Church in South Los Angeles, where she was noticed by influential jazz pianist "Professor" James Earl Hines around the age of 5 or 6, according to Councilwoman Jan Perry.
"Her rich voice influenced generations of singers who came after her, from Tina Turner to Bonnie Raitt to Christina Aguilera,'' Perry told her council colleagues.
Flowers were placed on James' star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame late this morning.
Born Jamesetta Hawkins on Jan. 25, 1938, she began singing gospel in her church choir as a child and recorded her first album in 1954, at age 16.
She had a prosperous solo career through the 1950s, and despite battles with drug addiction, hit her peak in the 1960s, recording popular ballads that included her signature "At Last."
During her 40-plus-year career, she won four Grammys and 17 Blues Music Awards and toured with such notables as Little Richard and Otis Redding. She earned a place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
Her early career was depicted in the 2008 film "Cadillac Records,'' which portrayed the lives of some of America's music legends. James was played by Beyonce Knowles, who sang "At Last" for the first dance of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama after the president's 2009 inauguration.
James retreated from stage appearances in 2009, appearing on national television for the last time that year in an episode of "Dancing with the Stars," during which she sang.
She had made her home in Riverside for the last two decades.
The singer's $1 million estate has been the subject of a legal tug-of- war between her son, Donto James, and husband of 42 years, Artis Mills, who is not the young man's father.
James was diagnosed with cancer two years ago. She also had dementia and a kidney deficiency and exhibited symptoms of organic brain syndrome.
James' health problems have been at the center of the suit, which Mills filed in 2010, seeking to have his wife's savings accounts declared community property, thereby removing any barriers he otherwise would face in using the funds. Donto James is challenging the action on the grounds that his mother gave him power-of-attorney to govern her affairs.
A Riverside County Superior Court judge in December ordered that $350,000 be used exclusively for her medical care.