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Etta James spending Christmas in hospital

December 25, 2011 |  7:48 am

Etta James, the legendary rhythm and blues singer suffering from end-stage leukemia and dementia, is under sedation while being treated at a Riverside hospital, her son saidThe family of Etta James said they hope to share Christmas with the hospitalized singing legend if she is feeling well enough.

If doctors can revive her from her sedation by Sunday, her family will try to hold a small Christmas celebration in her hospital room.

"She always felt Christmastime was for the children," said her son, Donto James.  "The biggest thing she ever wanted was for people to be with her, eat with her. That's what she wanted."

James, suffering from end-stage leukemia and dementia, is under sedation while being treated at a Riverside hospital.

The 73-year-old performer, known for hits such as "At Last" and "Tell Mama," will remain hospitalized for at least several days before possibly returning to her Riverside home, Donto James said. 

He declined to confirm reports that his mother has been on a breathing apparatus since Monday, but said she is being treated "for a couple of issues."

He and his stepfather, Artis Mills, had been embroiled in a legal dispute over her care and control of her $1-million estate. Under a recent agreement with Donto James and his brother, Sametto, Mills will remain as conservator of her estate. But a Riverside County Superior Court judge on Monday released only $350,000 for her medical costs, less than the $500,000 that Mills had requested.

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-- Larry Gordon

Photo: Etta James performs at the Orange County Blues Festival in 1993. Credit: Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times

 

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