Pop superstar Beyonce has hailed late soul legend Etta James as "one of the greatest vocalists of our time" following her tragic death on Friday (20Jan12).
James died just five days before her 74th birthday after suffering complications from leukemia.
A host of celebrities took to Twitter.com to pay tribute to the icon as soon as the sad news broke and the messages of condolence are continuing to pour in.
Beyonce has now issued a statement in memory of James, who she portrayed in the 2008 film Cadillac Records. The Crazy In Love beauty also had the honor of singing a cover of James' classic ballad At Last at President Barack Obama's inauguration in January, 2009.
In a message on her website, Beyonce says: "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. 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."
Another soul superstar, Chaka Khan, has also expressed her sadness at James' passing.
A post on Twitter.com reads, "Rest in peace Etta James. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family."
Mariah Carey adds, "Rest in peace to one of the world's most influential singers Etta James, you will be missed", while rocker Slash writes, "Deeply saddened by the loss of Etta James, a true legend in our time. RIP."
Cyndi Lauper, Pink, will.i.am, LeAnn Rimes and Jordin Sparks have also paid tribute to the late legend.