Etta James

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Etta James is ailing.

The blues great was admitted to an undisclosed hospital in Riverside, Calif., earlier this week for treatment for potentially fatal blood poisoning.

James' son, Sametto James, told the Riverside Press-Enterprise that the 73-year-old singer had developed sepsis, which resulted from a urinary tract infection. He expects her to remain under doctors' care "as long as it takes to clear her infections," he said.

Sepsis is the medical term for a condition that occurs when the body's immune system detects a microbe in the bloodstream, leading to a systemic inflammatory response that ends up causing multiple organ dysfunction and possibly death. Treatment often includes a stint in intensive care, replenishment with intravenous fluids and a steady stream of antibiotics.

James, who lives in nearby Woodcrest, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2009 and hospitalized in January 2010 for a similar blood infection. This past January, it was revealed in court papers that she also had leukemia.

The revelation surfaced as part of a court fight between Sametto and the diva's husband of 41 years, Artis Mills, both of whom are seeking control of more than $1 million of James' assets to cover her medical bills.

According to the docs, the four-time Grammy winner's condition had deteriorated to the point where she requires round-the-clock care to help her with eating, dressing and other basic functions.

James, whose career has spanned over five decades, is best known for such its as "At Last," "The Wallflower (Dance With Me, Henry)" and "All I Could Do Was Cry." She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

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