Legendary singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell remains hospitalized, but her representative says she is not in a coma.
TMZ reported that court records show Mitchell in a coma and unresponsive, with no immediate hopes that her condition will improve.
But a spokesperson for Mitchell told Buzzfeed that the report is false.
“Contrary to rumors circulating on the internet today, Joni is not in a coma,” the representative, Allisse Kingsley told Buzzfeed. “Joni is still in the hospital — but she comprehends, she’s alert, and she has her full sense. A full recovery is expected.”
It is true that longtime friend of Mitchell, Leslie Morris, filed court documents to obtain a conservatorship over the 71-year-old singer, who has long had health issues and was found unresponsive in her home last month.
Morris writes in court documents that Mitchell is unable to provide for any of her personal needs because of her condition, TMZ reports.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Website That Claims It’s Her ‘Official’ Site Says She’s Not in a Coma
Many media outlets retracted reports about Mitchell being in a coma after a denial was posted on the website JoniMitchell.com.
TMZ has not retracted or edited its report.
The website is run by Les Irvin, a Mitchell fan. In the legal information section, the website states, “JoniMitchell.com is privately maintained, managed, funded, and hosted by Les Irvin.
Neither Joni Mitchell, her management, her record company, or other affiliated organizations have any involvement whatsoever in the site’s content and financial decisions and may in no way be held liable for any infringements of copyright.”
The website is the largest Mitchell fan site. Irvin was sued in 2013 by a photographer for $600,000 over photos that were uploaded to the website, according to PetaPixel.
The widely circulated statement posted on JoniMitchell.com, which many media outlets have claimed to have come from her representatives, says:
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.
2. She Was Hospitalized March 31 After She Was Found Unresponsive in Her Home
According to TMZ, the 71-year-old Canadian-born singer was being treated in a Los Angeles hospital’s intensive care after being found unresponsive in her home March 31. Her condition was reported to be “quite serious.” The website reported that Mitchell was alert in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, but her condition has since deteriorated.
3. She Has Suffered From Morgellons Disease
In recent years, Mitchell said she suffered from Morgellons, a rare, controversial disease that sufferers say makes them feel a crawling and biting condition on their skin, which they believe is caused by parasites, insects, hairs or fibers, though none are present. The Centers for Disease Control’s report on the disease found that there is no infectious or environmental cause of the disease. Other studies, including by the Mayo Clinic, found that it was likely a psychosomatic disease.
Mitchell told the Los Angeles Times in 2010:
I have this weird, incurable disease that seems like it’s from outer space, but my health’s the best it’s been in a while. Two nights ago, I went out for the first time since December 23: I don’t look so bad under incandescent light, but I look scary under daylight. Garbo and Dietrich hid away just because people became so upset watching them age, but this is worse. Fibers in a variety of colors protrude out of my skin like mushrooms after a rainstorm: they cannot be forensically identified as animal, vegetable or mineral. Morgellons is a slow, unpredictable killer — a terrorist disease: it will blow up one of your organs, leaving you in bed for a year. But I have a tremendous will to live: I’ve been through another pandemic — I’m a polio survivor, so I know how conservative the medical body can be. 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.
In 2010, Mitchell she said she was retiring from singing because, “six decades of smoking have robbed me of my voice,” according to Variety.
During a 2007 interview with The Telegraph, Mitchell talked about smoking:
It’s one of life’s great pleasures. I have smoked since I was nine, so obviously it didn’t affect my early work that much. I would grab my tobacco and get on my bike, looking for a beautiful place, a grove of trees or a field, and go amongst the bushes and smoke and that always gave me a sense of well being.
Mitchell also battled polio when she was a young child in Canada.
4. She Has Lived Mostly Out of the Spotlight in Recent Years
Mitchell has largely been out of the limelight since she released her last studio album, Shine, in 2007. She did appear at a Grammys event earlier this year.
In a 2013 interview with the CBC just after turning 70, Mitchell talked about her reclusive life and her thoughts on death:
I’ve been ill. What are you supposed to do? Wander around when you’re sick as a dog? You can’t. So once again, you know, fame is a series of misunderstandings surrounding a name. I’ve been sick all my life, you know. So if I call off for you with abscessed ovaries, I don’t make a big publicity of it like Liz Taylor. I don’t play the professional sick person…. (It doesn’t bother me when I’m called a recluse.) People always get everything wrong. [Laughs] “When somebody gets something right I’m always delighted.
I’ve had a very interesting and a very challenging life. A lot of battles, just disease after disease after — I mean, I mean I shouldn’t be here, you know. But I have a tremendous will to live and a tremendous joie de vivre, alternating with irritability.
5. Mitchell Came to Fame During the Woodstock Era
Born in Alberta, Canada, Mitchell is an eight-time Grammy winner and an one of the most iconic folk singers of the Woodstock era.
She is best known for song Big Yellow Taxi, while her album Blue was named the 30th best in history by Rolling Stone. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.
Mitchell started her career in small clubs in western Canada before busking in Toronto. Her first album was recorded in 1968.
Mitchell told Rolling Stone about how she started in singing:
I bought a ukulele to sing bawdy drinking songs at these wiener roasts that we used to have with my group of cronies. We were rock & roll dancers, for the most part. The guys I hung out with were slightly older than me in high school, and one of them skipped a few grades and ended up in college at fifteen, so we used to go to college parties. The folk-music thing began to happen around that time, and people would sit around and sing. But there were no accompanists. Nobody played guitar around there. There weren’t bands. It isn’t like it is now, where everybody wants into show business.