US blues singer Etta James of "At Last" fame seriously ill
The American rhythm and blues legend Etta James, 72, who has battled addiction to heroin and other substances, is in hospital with a serious infection, her son told the Los Angeles television station KTLA.
She most recently made waves by lashing out after her trademark song, "At Last," was chosen by Beyonce to sing at an inaugural party for US President Barack Obama in January 2009. Photos of Obama and First Lady Michelle dancing to the song splashed the front pages across the US, dpa reported.
James' son Donto James told KTLA that his mother was being treated for sepsis, or blood poisoning, KTLA reported online on Friday. He said she possibly also suffers from Alzheimer's.
A teenage mother at 14, James rose to the top of the music charts, receiving four Grammys and 17 Blues Music Awards during her 60-year career.
Since the 1970s, James made headlines with her heroin addiction and frequent withdrawals. Her husband, Artis Mills, was in jail for ten years for drug possession. She managed at age 50, in 1988, to finally kick the heroin habit only to develop a dependency on pharmaceutical drugs, for which she again went through a cure earlier this year.
After the Obama inaugural, James blasted both Beyonce and Obama.
"I can't stand Beyoncé... [she] had no business ... singing my song that I been singing forever," James said at a concert in Washington.
About the president, she said: "You know your President, right? You know the one with the big ears? He ain't my President."