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Etta James' husband to remain her conservator, judge rules

December 20, 2011 |  2:40 pm

Etta james
The longtime husband of terminally-ill blues legend Etta James will remain as the conservator of her $1-million estate, a Riverside County judge has ruled.

In court documents, James' son, Donto James, had requested appointment as temporary conservator, expressing concerns about his mother's medical treatment and the costs of her medical care.

Donto James said he and his brother, Sametto, reached an agreement with Artis Mills, who married the singer in 1969, that allows him to continue making financial and health decisions for his ailing wife.

However, the judge agreed to release only $350,000 for her medical costs, less than the half a million dollars that Mills asked for, Donto James said. The ruling was made Monday.

The son said he and his brother asked the judge to transfer their mother to a hospital for a thorough examination to make sure she is being provided the best health treatment possible.

Etta James, 73, is in the end stages of leukemia and suffers from dementia, her doctors said last week.

Currently she is receiving round-the-clock care in her Riverside home, her son said.

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

But the judge said he'd leave treatment decisions up to Etta James' doctors, Donto James said.

"Mr. Mills’ aim is to keep her alive as long as possible,'' the son said. "That’s my aim too."


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-- Catherine Saillant

Photo: Etta James performs at the Hollywood Bowl in 2002. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times