After a long battle with leukemia and other health problems, singer Etta James passed away today at the age of 73.

Etta James served as an inspiration for vocalists who sought to combine the gospel tradition with newer music styles. Her voice had a heart-wrenching, painfully soaring quality that created a signature sound; her hits included the iconic song “At Last,” “Tell Mama,” and “All I Could Do Was Cry.” Although her life was plagued with parental abandonment, drug addiction, and financial problems, her legacy was something she knew she’d earned.

“Life’s been rough,” she once said. “But life’s been good. If I had to go back and do it all over again, I would live it the exact same way.”

Watch a mid-career performances of her classic “I’d Rather Go Blind.” So much personality, talent, and presence here.

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