Stars pay tribute to Etta James at funeral

Monday January 30, 2012

Rhythm & blues legend Etta James has been remembered at a service attended by hundreds of friends, family and fans.

The singer was praised as a woman who triumphed against all odds to break down cultural and musical barriers in a style that was unfailingly honest.

The Reverend Al Sharpton, a civil rights activist, eulogised Etta in a rousing speech, describing her remarkable rise from poverty and pain to become a woman whose music became an enduring anthem for weddings and commercials.

Mr Sharpton opened his remarks by reading a statement from President Barack Obama, who said: "Etta will be remembered for her legendary voice and her contributions to our nation's musical heritage."

The Grammy-winning singer died on January 20 after battling leukaemia and other ailments, including dementia.

She had retreated from public life in recent years, but her legacy was on display as mourners of all ages and races converged on the City of Refuge church in Gardena, south of central Los Angeles.

Among the stars performing tributes to  Etta were Stevie Wonder and Christina Aguilera, who told the gathering that she has included At Last in every concert she's performed as a tribute to her musical inspiration.

Photo;©: Getty

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