"This is a huge loss. Etta James was one of the greatest vocalists of our time. I am so fortunate to have met such a queen," Beyoncé wrote on her blog. "Her musical contributions will last a lifetime. Playing Etta James taught me so much about myself, and singing her music inspired me to be a stronger artist. When she effortlessly opened her mouth, you could hear her pain and triumph. Her deeply emotional way of delivering a song told her story with no filter. She was fearless, and had guts. She will be missed."
B famously portrayed the blond jazz singer in the 2008 biopic "Cadillac Records." Her version of "At Last" from the film's soundtrack would later win a Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Performance.
Beyoncé's version of James' iconic ballad once-again made headlines when she performed the track at President Obama's inaugural ball in 2009. The performance was initially met with some criticism from the always-outspoken James, but she later came around.
Beyoncé is the latest in a long line of celebrities paying tribute to James. "Showing respect, appreciation and love for all the wonderful music and joy #ettajames brought to the world...#ettajamesforever," Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am wrote on Twitter.
Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams recalled how James' music influenced her. "#EttaJames, I will be forever grateful for your voice and your soul. Rest in peace."
Rapper Flo Rida — whose latest hit, "Good Feeling," samples James' "Something's Got a Hold on Me" — wrote, "I'm deeply saddened by the passing of the Great Etta James and I will be forever grateful for the gift she Blessed me with."
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