She had been suffering from leukaemia and dementia.
She was best known for her legendary recording of songs like Tell Mama, Loser Weepers, I'd Rather Go Blind and At Last and her influenced can be felt in the work of artists like Janis Joplin, Beyonce, Amy Winehouse and Adele.
Indeed, her own life was like one of her heartbreaking songs - she never knew her father and her 14-year old mother effectively abandoned her to be brought up by their landlady.
She spent decades battling heroin addiction, obesity and a series of difficult relationships - though she always said her difficulties drover her forward.
6 Music recently broadcast a three part documentary about her life as a soul survivor, charting her story from her gospel roots to becoming a star, touching on her heroin addiction, her relationships, hospitalisation and recovery.
I compiled this piece from the documentary and let's hear Etta's friends and colleagues celebrate her life in music...