C Flanigan, FilmMagic
According to the court papers filed by her husband of 41 years, James is suffering from dementia and undergoing treatment for leukemia. Artis Mills filed documents in Riverside County, Calif. this week that reveal the 'At Last' singer is incapable of taking care of herself. She requires assistance with general hygiene, and when eating and dressing herself. Because James cannot even sign her name, Mills is asking for power of attorney over the 72-year-old's fortune.
However, in 2008, James turned over power of attorney to her two sons Sametto James and Donto James, and his wife. A court will determine on Friday if their authority will be overruled.
Reports of James' deteriorating health began surfacing in the past few years. In June of 2009, she canceled a last minute headlining performance with neo-soul singer Adele at the famed Hollywood Bowl, citing health reasons. She was hospitalized with a urinary tract infection in January of 2010. Around that time, her son Donto revealed James was "battling for her life and sanity," and had undergone recent treatment for a painkiller dependency.
James first made her breakthrough in 1955 with the hit 'The Wallflower (Roll With Me Harry.)' It led to her signing with Chess Records in 1960, and a year later James released her debut album, 'At Last,' that also served as the namesake for her most popular recording of all time. To date, James has a total of 27 studio albums and four Grammys under her belt. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
Listen to Etta James' 'The Wallflower (Roll with Me Henry)'