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OTRC: Etta James taken off respirator after condition improves

Etta James performs during the 2006 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans in a Saturday, April 29, 2006 file photo. James was in stable condition Thursday, July 26, 2007, after being hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in los Angeles, Calif., for complications from abdominal surgery she had last month, her manager said. She had to cancel upcoming tour dates with B.B. King and Al Green, her manager said.

Etta James is showing some signs of improvement.

The terminally ill singer, who has been battling leukemia and was hospitalized earlier this month, has been taken off a respirator and is breathing on her own, according to the Associated Press.

James' manager Lupe De Leon told the wire service on December 30 that the change in her condition is great that her blood pressure is normal.

James was taken to a hospital in Southern California, where she lives, on December 21 after having trouble breathing.

The 73-year-old Grammy-winning R&B and soul singer, known for songs such as "At Last" and "Tell Mama," has been undergoing treatment for her blood cancer for the past few years and also suffers from ailments such as dementia and kidney failure. Her doctor said last week that her chronic leukemia was deemed incurable.

On December 20, James' sons Sametto and Donto reached a deal over the management of her $1 million estate and medical care, naming her husband and their stepfather, Artis Mills, as the permanent conservator. A judge ruled that $350,000 would be made available for James' treatment.

He and James wed in 1969. Mills served a 10-year prison sentence after accepting responsibility for heroin possession after he and James were caught with the drug. He was released from prison in 1982.

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