Etta James Taken Off Respirator, Condition Improves

9:34 AM PST 12/31/2011 by Associated Press
Richard E. Aaron/Getty Images
Etta James in 2007

The "At Last" singer had been hospitalized Dec. 21 after having trouble breathing.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Etta James' manager says the terminally ill blues singer is breathing on her own after being taken off a respirator.

Lupe De Leon says Friday that the change in her condition is great news and that the singer's blood pressure is normal.

De Leon says James was put on a respirator when she was hospitalized in Southern California on Dec. 21 because she was having trouble breathing.

James has been diagnosed with terminal leukemia and is suffering from dementia. She has been receiving mostly at-home care.

Earlier this month, a judge set aside $350,000 for her medical care.

James is best known for the hit "At Last."

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