Joni Mitchell 'not in a coma,' friend files for conservatorship

Joni Mitchell 'not in a coma,' friend files for conservatorship
Joni Mitchell, shown in Toronto in 2013, remains hospitalized in Los Angeles a month after she was found unresponsive at her home. A friend is seeking approval from a court in L.A. to be appointed her conservator while the songwriter recuperates. (Galit Rodan / Associated Press)

After nearly a month in a Los Angeles hospital, Joni Mitchell is unable to care for herself, according to court papers filed by a longtime friend who is seeking to be appointed the songwriter's conservator.

One of her doctors has declared that Mitchell, 71, would be unlikely to attend any court hearings for four to six months, according to court papers filed by Leslie Morris, who is identified in papers obtained by the Associated Press as Mitchell's friend of more than 44 years.


In response to media reports on the court filing, which implied Mitchell's condition had taken a turn for the worst, the singer-songwriter's official website posted the following message Tuesday afternoon:

"Contrary to rumors circulating on the Internet today, Joni is not in a coma. Joni is still in the hospital -- but she comprehends, she's alert, and she has her full senses. A full recovery is expected.

"The document obtained by a certain media outlet simply gives her longtime friend Leslie Morris the authority -- in the absence of 24-hour doctor care -- to make care decisions for Joni once she leaves the hospital. As we all know, Joni is a strong-willed woman and is nowhere near giving up the fight. Please continue to keep Joni in your thoughts."

A spokeswoman for Mitchell told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday that she had no additional information on her condition.

Mitchell was taken to the hospital on March 31 after being found "unresponsive" at her home, emergency responders reported at that time.

Later, her official Twitter account reported that she was "awake and in good spirits." Her spokeswoman said at that time that doctors were working to discover "why she fainted."

"I have a tremendous will to live," Mitchell told The Times in 2010. She self-identifies as having Morgellons disease and has been a vocal advocate for the controversial disorder in recent years.

"I'm a polio survivor, so I know how conservative the medical body can be," she said. "In America, the Morgellons is always diagnosed as 'delusion of parasites,' and they send you to a psychiatrist. I'm actually trying to get out of the music business to battle for Morgellons sufferers to receive the credibility that's owed to them."

A 1997 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Mitchell is one of the most acclaimed singers and songwriters to emerge in the 1960s. She recorded a string of widely lauded albums in the '60s, '70s and '80s that tapped folk, rock and jazz in songs that explored the myriad nuances of interpersonal relationships. She has also established herself as a visual artist and has spent nearly as much of her life devoted to her paintings as to her music.

Here is former Times Pop Music Critic Robert Hilburn's in-depth interview with Mitchell from 2004.

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