While plenty of pop stars have been publicly expressing their sadness about the news today that Etta James has died, there’s one performer who knew James better than most. Beyonce, who played the legendary singer in the 2008 movie ‘Cadillac Records,’ wrote on her blog that James’ passing is “a huge loss.”

Beyonce wrote:

“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.”

James died at age 73 of complications from leukemia. Among her numerous contributions was the definitive version of ‘At Last,’ which earned Beyonce a Grammy Award when she recorded a cover version for the ‘Cadillac Records’ soundtrack.

Beyonce wore an Etta James wig and serenaded the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee with a rendition of the classic tune at the 2008 Fashion Rocks fundraiser event, where she said mid-song, “If it wasn’t for you, Etta James, artists like me would not have this opportunity. God bless you.” Beyonce also performed the song at President Obama’s inaugural ball in 2009.

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