12:37 PM EDT 12/22/2014
Originally posted 02/13/2012 02:30PM
On a night intended to pay homage to the biggest names in music today, two of the Grammy Awards's biggest honorees were the megastars no longer in the room: Etta James and Whitney Houston.
After host LL Cool J opened Sunday's ceremony with a prayer for Houston, announcing "a death in our family," the audience rose in a standing ovation.
"When a truly great artist leaves us, their legacy lives on," Alicia Keys later told the stars gathered at Los Angeles's Staples Center, before joining Bonnie Raitt in a graceful cover of James's "A Sunday Kind of Love."
But the most moving tribute came from Jennifer Hudson, whose elegant but understated rendition of Houston's "I Will Always Love You" brought audience members to their feet once again.
Originally posted 01/29/2012 10:15AM
Etta James was remembered in words and music Saturday at a funeral in Gardena, Calif., featuring a moving performance of "At Last" by Christina Aguilera.
Aguilera, who includes the song in her shows, offered this tribute to the 73-year-old R&B legend for PEOPLE:
"It isn't every day that an artist can meet the person who inspired them and their career. Not only did I have the incredible opportunity of meeting my idol, the legendary Ms. Etta James, but to be asked by her family to perform at her memorial was so very touching and yet bitter sweet.
Originally posted 01/20/2012 08:30PM
Recalling his mother, R&B legend Etta James, and her final moments, son Donto James tells PEOPLE he's happy he and his brother, Sametto, got to hold her in their arms and say goodbye.
"It's been quite a day, Donto, 43, said Friday, the day Etta, 73, died from complications of leukemia, "but I'm very grateful. She basically passed in my arms, and I was able to share everything I needed to say to her, from praying to listing her accomplishments as a mother."
The goodbyes were delivered at a Riverside, Calif. hospital, where Etta James was taken Thursday night. Donto says his mother couldn't speak but seemed to understand what he was telling her.
Originally posted 01/20/2012 02:45PM
Calling her "the eternally great Etta James," Beyoncé is paying special tribute to the quintessential R&B diva, who died on Friday morning at 73 from complications of leukemia.
"This is a huge loss. Etta James was one of the greatest vocalists of our time," Beyoncé, who played James in the movie Cadillac Records, posted in a message on her website.
"I am so fortunate to have met such a queen. Her musical contributions will last a lifetime."
Originally posted 01/20/2012 11:35AM
Etta James, the powerful blues voice behind the chart-topping 1961 evergreen "At Last," has died after a lengthy struggle with leukemia. She was 73.
Her longtime friend and manager, Lupe De Leon, first confirmed the news to CNN. "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."
Because of her health concerns, James had curtailed her concerts in January 2010 to enter the hospital with a blood infection, among other ailments, including Alzheimer's disease.
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