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TMZ may seek legal action in hoax that said Etta James was dead

August 4, 2011 | 10:12 am

Etta James is not dead, her son says.

The celebrity website TMZ confirmed Thursday that its legal team is investigating a fake article claiming the death of blues and R&B singer Etta James.

Rumors flew over the Internet and Twitter that the 73-year-old singer had died, originating from an article posted on the hoax site Wednesday evening. The imitation looks almost exactly like the actual TMZ site, bearing the same logo, format and phone number for news tips.

"We are aware someone has faked a TMZ site and our legal department is all over it," said Casey Carver, spokesperson for TMZ.

James' son confirmed Thursday morning that his mother was not dead.

"She's fine. I just saw her last night and she was fine," said Donto James.

James remains seriously ill and is being cared for at her suburban Riverside home. She has been diagnosed with dementia and is undergoing treatment for leukemia, and has spent time in and out of the hospital over the past two years.


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-- Andrew Blankstein and Kate Mather

Photo: Etta James at the Playboy Jazz Festival in 1990. Credit: Los Angeles Times