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Etta James hospitalized; care decisions remain in husband's hands

Etta James has reportedly been hospitalized after her health took a turn for the worse.

December 23, 2011|Christie D'Zurilla | Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
  • Etta James at the Playboy Jazz Festival in June 1990.
Etta James at the Playboy Jazz Festival in June 1990. (Los Angeles Times )

Etta James has reportedly been hospitalized after her health took a turn for the worse.

The 73-year-old blues singer was taken to a Riverside hospital Monday because of an infection that resulted in sepsis, according to CNN, which talked to one of her sons on Friday. A judge on Monday had made a ruling regarding control of her care, but left the decision on hospitalization up to her doctors.

It's not the first time James -- who is suffering from leukemia and dementia -- has battled sepsis brought on by a urinary tract infection; she was hospitalized for the same in January 2010 and May of this year. She also struggled with addiction in the 1960s and '70s.

Though the Grammy winner's health has improved since Monday, "She's not out of the woods quite yet," son Sametto James told CNN.

A judge ruled Monday that James' husband since 1969, Artis Mills, would keep decision-making control over her finances and her healthcare, but released only $350,000 for the singer's medical costs from her $1-million estate instead of the half-million Mills had requested. According to Mills, James' at-home care runs about $30,000 a month. Donto James, Sametto's brother, had requested a temporary conservatorship because of concerns over those expenses and his mother's care.

"The only issue is my mother going into the hospital," Donto James told The Times. "I begged the doctors to do it this one time to make sure everything is OK."

Dr . Elaine James (no relation), the "At Last" singer's live-in physician since March 2010, revealed last week that Etta James' leukemia was terminal.

Requesting prayers be said for her patient, the doctor said Dec. 15 to the Riverside Press-Enterprise that fans "know she's been sick, but not how sick."

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