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April, 29

Joni Mitchell said to be 'alert' despite coma claims

Joni Mitchell said to be 'alert' despite coma claims

Representatives for Joni Mitchell last night denied reports that the singer-songwriter had slipped into a coma.

The 71-year-old folk icon was rushed to hospital on 31 March after collapsing at her home in Los Angeles. It emerged yesterday that her close friend Leslie Morris had filed legal documents to obtain conservatorship over the musician and her affairs. But contrary to widely reported claims, a statement posted on Mitchell’s official website yesterday said, “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 statement continued: “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.”

Mitchell, a stalwart of the late 1960s Laurel Canyon scene, wrote such enduring hits as “Big Yellow Taxi”, “Both Sides Now” and the album Blue. Her last LP Shine was released in 2007. A lifelong smoker, Mitchell has said that cigarettes “robbed me of my voice”. She also suffers from the little-understood condition, Morgellons Disease, which afflicts victims with irritable, thread-like fibres beneath the skin.

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