As blues legend ETTA JAMES lay comatose and dying, her grief-stricken son Donto lamented: “It breaks my heart to see my mom this way!”
And his anguish has been compounded by a nasty family feud pitting Donto and his brother Sametto against Etta’s husband of 42 years, Artis Mills.
On Dec. 22, the “At Last” singer, 73 – who’s been suffering from end-stage leukemia, dementia and kidney failure – was rushed to a hospital, where her husband and sons held vigil. Mercifully, she’s been oblivious to their bitter battle over her money and care.
Just three days earlier, a Riverside County, Calif., judge awarded $350,000 of Etta’s $1 million estate to Mills to care for his stricken wife despite her sons’ request that the amount be capped at $100,000.
In an exclusive interview, Donto told The ENQUIRER that his mother should have been in the hospital all along, rather than staying at home with a live-in doctor who charged $25,000 a month.
“But I didn’t get a say,” Donto noted. “Her husband has called all the shots.”
Donto claims that his mother had verbally given him power of attorney to take care of her medical needs, but she became incapacitated before legal papers could be drawn up.
As The ENQUIRER reported last January, the fight over Etta’s estate has been raging for more than a year.
“Her wishes were very clear that if she became sick, she wanted to be in a hospital,” Donto claimed. “But no one helped me make that happen.”
Meantime, Mills has insisted that Etta wanted to die at home.
“She’s spent her final dayswasting away while everyone tries to cut up her financial estate,” Donto added.
“I honestly hope my mom doesn’t realize that some of the people she loved have just become uncaring and greedy. It would break her heart.”