Worrisome update on Joni Mitchell's condition

LOS ANGELES -- A longtime friend of Joni Mitchell says in a court filing that the singer-writer is unconscious and unable to make medical decisions for herself.

Leslie Morris filed a petition Tuesday seeking to be named the folk singer's conservator. Morris is identified in a court filing as a friend of Mitchell's for more than 44 years.

Morris is not seeking control of Mitchell's estate. She is seeking the appointment because Mitchell does not have any family who can serve as her conservator.

A declaration from a doctor states the 71-year-old Mitchell will likely be unable to attend any court hearings for the next four to six months, but it does not provide further details on her condition or prognosis. The filing was first reported by celebrity website TMZ.

Mitchell was hospitalized March 31 after being found unconscious in her Los Angeles home.

A statement posted on her website Tuesday evening said:

"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."

It was the first update posted since early April, when a message stated she was resting comfortably and getting stronger each day.

Mitchell had spoken about health concerns in the past, including her experience with a rare and mysterious condition called Morgellons disease. Morgellons sufferers often describe fibers or "filaments" sprouting from their skin, along with itching sensations, chronic fatigue, joint pain, difficulty with memory and thinking, mood changes and some neurological problems.

In a 2010 Los Angeles Times interview, Mitchell described it as "a slow, unpredictable killer -- a terrorist disease." But medical research has failed to find evidence of a physical cause.

Mitchell, an eight-time Grammy winner, is the voice behind such songs as "River," "Both Sides Now," "Woodstock," "Chelsea Morning" and "Big Yellow Taxi." She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.

Last year, Mitchell released four-disc box set. Her most recent studio album, "Shine," came out in 2007.