Blues legend B.B. King has died in Las Vegas aged 89, his lawyer confirmed on Thursday. Attorney Brent Bryson said King died peacefully in his sleep at 9:40 p.m. PDT at his Clark County, Nevad home in Las Vegas. King, widely regarded as the ‘King Of Blues’, sold millions of records worldwide, won 15 Grammy [...]

Sunday Times 2

The ‘King Of Blues’

Guitarist B.B. King dies in Las Vegas aged 89 following long bout of ill health

Blues legend B.B. King has died in Las Vegas aged 89, his lawyer confirmed on Thursday.

Attorney Brent Bryson said King died peacefully in his sleep at 9:40 p.m. PDT at his Clark County, Nevad home in Las Vegas.

US blues artist B.B. King performs during his "International Farewell Tour 2006" concert in the German capital of Berlin, in this file picture taken September 7, 2006. Guitarist B.B. King, who took the blues from rural juke joints to the mainstream and influenced a generation of rock guitarists from Eric Clapton to Stevie Ray Vaughan, has died (REUTERS)

King, widely regarded as the ‘King Of Blues’, sold millions of records worldwide, won 15 Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1980 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

BB, real name Riley B. King, was admitted to hospital last month for diabetes-related ailments, but was discharged when he insisted on at-home hospice care as opposed to hospitalisation.

Speaking at the start of May, King’s business manager Laverne Toney said: ‘Mr. King is where he wishes to be. He’s always told me he doesn’t want to be in a hospital. He wants to be at home.’

Meanwhile, a message on his Official Facebook page said: ‘A Message From B,B, “I am in home hospice care at my residence in Las Vegas. Thanks to all for your well wishes and prayers.”‘

The blues guitarist – a father of 11 – was treated at the hospital for complications of high blood pressure and diabetes, The Telegraph reports, though King was diagnosed with Type II diabetes over 25 years ago.

King’s father Albert King died aged 87 and was known to suffer from high blood glucose and gout, while his mother Nora Ella Farr died when King was nine, going blind from diabetes before her death.

Musician B.B was forced to cancel eight dates on his US tour in October 2014 when he fell on stage and was rushed to hospital in Chicago for exhaustion and dehydration.

A statement explaining the incident read: ‘The combination of the rigors of the very long drive and high blood sugar due to his medication error resulted in a performance that did not match Mr. King’s usual standard of excellence.’

Another statement from the star on his website said: ‘I’m back at home now listening to music, watching movies and enjoying some down time
‘I think I’m busier at home now than on the road talking to friends calling to check up on me. I do appreciate everyone’s calls and concern. I want to tell you, I’m doing alright.’

King again took to his Facebook page to reassure fans, saying: ‘A Message from B.B. “I want to thank everyone for their concern and good wishes. I’m feeling much better & am leaving the hospital today.”‘

Highly regarded: The legendary musician was invited to play at the White House: Red, White and Bluesø concert in the East Room of the White House in February 2012, where President Obama joined him in singing Sweet Home Chicago

A week later he wrote: ‘A Message from B.B. “I’ve been back home for a little over a week now and am feeling better.”‘

King was born Riley B. King in 1925 in Mississippi, Tennessee, where he was inspired to take up guitar a pastor in his church.

The one-time farmhand brought new fans to the blues and influenced a generation of musicians with his heartfelt vocals and soaring guitar on songs such as The Thrill Is Gone.

King played a Gibson guitar that he affectionately called Lucille and was recognised as a mentor to scores of guitarists including Eric Clapton.
Clapton honoured King during an interview with The Times in 2005, in which he said: ‘B.B. King taps into something universal. He can’t be confined to any one genre. That’s why I’ve called him a ‘global musician.’

A self-taught guitarist, King entered the industry as a disc jockey after serving in World War II and released his first single Three O’Clock Blues in 1949.

He was named BB from being nicknamed ‘Beale Street Blues Boy’ and called each of his guitars ‘Lucille’ after witnessing two men fight over a woman of the same name.

Guitarist BB was married twice – both of which ended by the mid-1960s – and succeeded 11 living children and 50 grandchildren.

His first marriage to Martha Lee Denton lasted for six years and ended in 1952.

While his second wife Sue Carol Hall came along in 1958 but ended in separation again in 1966.

He was awarded his 15th Grammy in 2009 in the traditional blues album category for One Kind Favor.

His battle with illness has been a long one, though he continued to tour until late 2014.

King’s daughter Patty King recently claimed the blues legend’s long time handler Laverne Toney refused to let her take him to hospital after he’d suffered a heart attack.

According to TMZ, there is an ongoing battle between Patty and Toney. Patty reportedly became worried when her father wouldn’t eat and his urine turned orange, and decided to take him to hospital.

But when Toney – who had the power of attorney over the guitarist – refused, his daughter called the police.

Responding officers concurred that he needed medical attention and summoned paramedics, who then brought him to hospital.

It was then doctors diagnosed he had had a mild heart attack.

Patty and her boyfriend have already accused Toney of elder abuse, as well as burglary. In November they filed a police report accusing her of fleecing up to $30million and several items of jewelry from the 15-time Grammy winner, as well as withholding his medication.

While police investigated the accusations, no charges were filed against her.

The musician was known as one of the most robust in the industry, playing as many as 300 shows per year throughout his long career.
© Daily Mail, London

Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.