According to her friend and long time manager, Grammy award winning singer Etta James, age 73, has been deemed terminally ill with leukemia and has been hospitalized in California and placed on a breathing machine. “They took her to the hospital. She was having trouble breathing, so they intubated her. She is on a breathing machine and is resting,” Lupe De-Leon, the singer’s manager for 30 years, told Reuters. “It is really sad. She is like my sister,” De-Leon said on Friday.
Best known for the blues ballad “At Last”, James was taken to the hospital near her home in Riverside, East of Los Angeles, earlier this week because she was having trouble breathing. The singer has been in failing health for a number of years and suffers from leukemia, kidney disease and dementia but had previously been cared for at her Southern California home. The three-time Grammy Award singer earlier battled obesity and was addicted to heroin for many years.
Last week, her live in doctor said that James was considered terminally ill, and that she communicates mostly with nods and simple words.
James was a key figure in the early days of R&B music with hit songs like “The Wallflower” and “Good Rockin’ Daddy”. But it was her 1961 recording of “At Last” that put her on the map.