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Legendary Guitarist B.B. King Dies at 89

By Staff


b-b-kingLegendary blues guitarist Riley B. King, also known as B.B. King, died Thursday, May 14, at the age of 89.

King’s daughter, Patty King, said the musician died while in home hospice care, after suffering from dehydration.

King reportedly lived for years with Type II diabetes.

The Mississippi native had been known as “king of the blues” for more than six decades, and influenced a generation of rock and blues musicians ranging from Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan, to Sheryl Crow and John Mayer.

“I want to thank him for all the inspiration and encouragement he gave me as a player over the years, and for the friendship that we enjoyed,” Eric Clapton stated on Facebook.

King had begun his career in 1948 by performing on Sonny Boy Williamson’s radio program, in West Memphis, Tenn. It had been a gig which then led to steady engagements at the Sixteenth Avenue Grill in West Memphis, and a 10-minute spot on WDIA-AM radio station.

“Blues Boy,” a name he had taken in the 1940s, before he shortened it to “B.B,” shot to fame with his first hit record “Three O’Clock Blues,” in 1951. Subsequently, during the 50s and 60s, he began touring the country performing live shows with his band.

King continued touring well into his 80s, receiving a total of 30 Grammy nominations, and 15 wins, throughout his career.

His last win was in February 2009 for Best Traditional Blues Album for “One Kind Favor” (2008).

King had reportedly begun slowing down in 2014, after complications from diabetes. In October, he became ill after a show at Chicago’s House of Blues due to dehydration and exhaustion, which sparked an uncommon cancellation for the remainder of one of his tours.

He had also been hospitalized in Las Vegas for dehydration in April.

King is survived by 11 children, three of whom recently made a formal request to handle his financial matters, claiming his manager, Laverne Toney, was taking advantage of him. However, a Las Vegas judge rejected the request in early May.