Rev. Al Sharpton Delivers Etta James Eulogy

January 28, 2012  |  

Today in Southern California, the funeral for legendary singer  – Etta James – whose earthy vocals bridged genres from blues to rock, will take place in Southern California.

The Rev. Al Sharpton is set to preside over the private service for family and friends at Greater Bethany Community Church City of Refuge in Gardena.

Fans got the opportunity Friday to bid farewell to James during a public viewing at the Inglewood Cemetery Mortuary. Hundreds of people waited for hours to sign registers and attend the viewing for James, who died last Friday at the age of 73 from complications due to leukemia.

James was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010, and also suffered from dementia and hepatitis C. She died at a hospital in Riverside, California. She would have turned 74 on Wednesday.

Throughout her career, James overcame a heroin addiction, opened for the Rolling Stones, won six Grammys and was voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Despite her ups and downs — including a number of health problems — she maintained an optimistic attitude.Through it all, she was a spitfire beloved by contemporaries and young up-and-comers. British songstress Adele named James as one of her favorite singers, along with Aretha Franklin.

Etta James was born Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles to a teen mother and unknown father. She suspected her father was Rudolph Wanderone Jr., the famous pool hustler known as Minnesota Fats.

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