The 'At Last' singer passed away in a hospital in Riverside, California after being diagnosed with leukaemia in 2010.
The reaction from those knew her intimately and those who were just fans of her work was one of sadness and appreciation of a wonderful voice. Below are just some of those messages.
Etta James's manager Lupe DeLeon
"This is a tremendous loss for the family, her friends and fans around the world. She was a true original who could sing it all - her music defied category. I worked with Etta for over 30 years. She was my friend and I will miss her always."
"CLASSIC. ONE OF A KIND. PURE SOUL. ETTA JAMES! Thank You for gracing us with your incredible talent & presence!"
Neil Portnow President/CEO of The Recording Academy
"Three-time Grammy winner and Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Etta James leaves behind a dynamic legacy spanning six decades. Her music knew no boundaries as she explored diverse genres including blues, soul, R&B, rock and roll, gospel and jazz. She will forever be remembered for her timeless ballad 'At Last', and a powerful voice that will echo around the world for generations to come. We extend our deepest sympathies to her family, friends, fans and all who have been stirred by her soulful songs and passion for music."
Verve Music Group (Etta's last album, 2011's The Dreamer was released via Verve Forecast)
"Verve Music Group mourns the loss of Etta James. Your music warmed our hearts, lifted our souls and will forever be remembered. May you rest in peace."
Chic founder and producer Nile Rodgers
"When I was a kid, I remember walking all the way to Flash Record Shop in LA to buy a 45 rpm single by Etta James RIP."
Questlove of The Roots
"rip tp Etta James. i will hold the torch high for The Roots name in your honour."
Nathan Followill of Kings of Leon
"RIP Etta James. One of the greatest voices of all time. Thanks for the many romantic moments your music created."
American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe
"One of the #IDOL finalists just sang "I'd Rather Go Blind" yesterday. We were saying how great Etta James was and now we've lost her."
Actor David Boreanaz
"The magic that is and will ever be has passed away. RIP Etta James. #Soul"
Ex-Guns N'Roses bassist Duff McKagan
"RIP Etta James. A WARRIOR of a woman. A talent without equal."
Musician Talib Kweli
"RIP Etta James. You will be missed tremendously...."
Paramore singer Hayley Williams
"#EttaJames, I will be forever grateful for your voice and your soul. Rest in peace."
Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am
"Showing respect appreciation and love for all the wonderful music and joy #ettajames brought to the world…#ettajamesforever"
"Just been told the legend that is Etta James has passed. Thank you for your voice your dedication to us and your gift. Your voice is timeless and will forever live on. I will always look to you for inspiration. R.I.P <3"
"#DearEtta may you rest in peace."
"Rest in peace to one of the world's most influential singers Etta James, you will be missed."
"RIP to the late and great Etta James. Your voice and your fight inspired me and many. I love that through recordings,people can live forever."
Glee star Kevin McHale
"Thank you Etta James for sharing your incredible gift with all of us."
"Omg, we lost Etta James today. May she rest in peace and thank you Etta for all the wonderful singing you left behind for us. I'll miss her."
> Etta James: Five of her most memorable songs
Move through our gallery of images from Etta James's career below: