CAIRO, 21 August 2007 — Saudi Arabia’s first female singer Etab died Sunday night surrounded by family members after a long battle with cancer. She was buried early yesterday in a cemetery in 6th of October city, 20 km southwest of downtown Cairo.
Condolences poured in from artists, fans and fellow singers throughout the Arab world as the crooner was remembered. With more than 15 albums to her name, she is known for hits such as “Jani Al-Asmar,” “Alashanah” and “Hiya, Hady w’Huwa.
The 66-year-old singer started her career in the early 1960s where her strong personality made her stand out amongst other singers. She credited the late Saudi legend Talal Maddah as being instrumental to her success.
She also had a brief stint as an actress and appeared in three movies.
Etab was born in Saudi Arabia and married an Egyptian man who worked in the Saudi Information Ministry in 1978. She soon moved to Egypt where she gave birth to a boy and a girl, Ahmad and Dareen. She received Egyptian citizenship in 1983.
After years of marriage Etab asked for a divorce from her husband who refused her repeated requests. Eventually the singer moved to the UAE with her children.
Etab was diagnosed with cancer in 1997 while she was in the UAE. She sought treatment in the USA but due to her deteriorating health and tight financial situation, she cut the trip short and moved back to Egypt.
Etab remained in Egypt until the day she died on late Sunday.
Her husband spoke to Arab News saying that she was a woman who did not know any anger and never held a grudge against anyone. She loved her children and lived for her work.