Joni Mitchell’s health sparks conflicting reports
Is she at death’s door or on the comeback trail?
LOS ANGELES — The health of singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell was the subject of conflicting information with her website stating she is alert and expected to make a full recovery, while a longtime friend stated in a court filing she was unconscious and unable to care for herself.
The Grammy winner has been hospitalized since March 31 for undisclosed reasons. Her friend Leslie Morris filed a petition to become Mitchell’s guardian on Tuesday, stating that Mitchell was unable to care for herself.
Within hours, Mitchell’s official website stated that “She comprehends, she’s alert and she has her full senses. A full recovery is expected.”
Morris’ court filing was accompanied by a doctor’s declaration stating that Mitchell would be unable to attend a court hearing for four to six months, but it included no additional details on her condition or prognosis. Dr. Paul Vespa checked a box signed on Saturday indicating that Mitchell was unable to participate in her medical care.
“At this time (Mitchell) remains unconscious and unable to make any responses, and is therefore unable to provide for any of her personal needs,” states Morris’ filing, which was signed by her on Sunday and by her attorney on Monday.
Morris sought a court order because Mitchell has no family who can serve as her conservator and help with her care and medical decisions. Her filing does not seek any control over Mitchell’s finances.
Mitchell’s website states Morris’ filing seeks to get authority to make decisions for the singer once she leaves the hospital and isn’t under the 24-hour care of a doctor. A court hearing on the filing is scheduled for July 8.
Phone calls to Morris and her attorney, Alan Watenmaker, were not returned.
Mitchell has received eight Grammy Awards, including a lifetime achievement award in 2002. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.
She started her career as a street musician in her native Canada before moving to Southern California, where she became part of the flourishing folk scene in the late 1960s. Her second album, Clouds, was a breakthrough with such songs as Both Sides Now and Chelsea Morning, winning Mitchell the Grammy for best folk performance.
Her 1970 album, Ladies of the Canyon, featured the hit single Big Yellow Taxi and the era-defining Woodstock. The following year, she released Blue, which ranks 30th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Her musical style integrates folk and jazz elements, and she counts jazz giants Charles Mingus and Pat Metheny among her past collaborators.