Big R&B Moments of 2012: Etta James and Whitney Houston Die Unexpectedly
R&B lost two legends at the start of this year. In January, the songbird Etta James, known for her classic 'At Last,' succumbed to complications of leukemia at the age of 73. The singer, who won six Grammys over the span of her career, was portrayed by Beyonce in the 2008 'Cadillac Records.' Beyonce released a statement after her death saying, "Etta James was one of the greatest vocalists of our time. I am so fortunate to have met such a queen." At her funeral, singers Christina Aguilera and Stevie Wonder performed, helping family and fans say goodbye to a musical great.
The announcement of Whitney Houston's death was much more unexpected as the singer was only 48 years old. She had battled with drug use over the years and her cause of death on Feb. 11 was confirmed to be a result of cocaine use, atherosclerotic heart disease and drowning. Unfortunately, Houston died during the weekend of the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, which cast a black cloud over the festivities. The chanteuse's funeral was aired on national television, giving fans the chance to remember her as one of the greatest singers of all time.