Joni Mitchell Says Battle with Rare Morgellons Disease Makes Her Feel Like She's Being 'Eaten Alive'

The music icon says the illness "seems like it's from outer space"

Legendary singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell opens up about her private world — and why she’s shied away from the spotlight — in the new biography Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell, by David Yaffe.

According to a Daily Mail report, Mitchell, 73, reveals her battle with Morgellons disease, a mysterious illness, in the new book, due Oct. 17.

“I have this weird, incurable disease that seems like it’s from outer space,” she says of her illness in the book, the DM reports. “Morgellons is a slow, unpredictable killer — a terrorist disease: it will blow up one of your organs, leaving you in bed for a year. … Fibers in a variety of colors protrude out of my skin like mushrooms after a rainstorm: they cannot be forensically identified as animal, vegetable or mineral.”


Mitchell also reveals in the book that she sometimes wouldn’t wear clothing because she felt like she was being “eaten alive” — and that the disease left her confined to her house for several years.

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There is controversy in the medical world about Morgellons. Described by the Mayo Clinic as an “uncommon, unexplained skin disorder characterized by sores, crawling sensations on and under the skin, and fiber-like filaments emerging from the sores,” it is not acknowledged as a disease by some health professionals; the Centers for Disease Control notes that “the signs and symptoms of Morgellons… are very similar to those of a mental illness involving false beliefs about infestation by parasites (delusional parasitosis).”

Portrait Of Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell in 1968. Jack Robinson/Getty

The “Big Yellow Taxi” singer has largely remained out of the public eye in recent years. In 2015, she made headlines for a series of health scares, including a stroke. Mitchell made a rare public outing in February, attending Clive Davis’s annual pre-Grammys bash in L.A.

Reckless Daughter will chronicle Mitchell’s extraordinary life, from her tumultuous childhood growing up in Alberta, Canada (she was diagnosed with polio at age 9) to her rise to music fame in the ’60s and ’70s.

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