BB King has died aged 89.
The news of King’s death was confirmed by his lawyer, Brent Bryson who told the Associated Press [via The Guardian] that King died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday [May 14, 2015] at his home in Las Vegas.
Born Riley B King on September 16, 1925 in Mississippi, King began performing in the 1940s.
Of his early years, King wrote in his autobiography Blues All Around Me, “I’ve put up with more humiliation than I care to remember. Touring a segregated America – forever being stopped and harassed by white cops hurt you most cos you don’t realise the damage. You hold it in. You feel empty, like someone reached in and pulled out your guts. You feel hurt and dirty, less than a person.”
Among King’s best-known hits were “My Lucille“, “The Thrill Is Gone” and “Rock Me Baby”.
“He is without a doubt the most important artist the blues has ever produced,” Eric Clapton wrote in his 2008 biography, “and the most humble and genuine man you would ever wish to meet. In terms of scale or stature, I believe that if Robert Johnson was reincarnated, he is probably BB King.”
In 1988, he recorded “When Love Comes To Town” with U2 for their album Rattle And Hum.
In 2000 he collaborated with Eric Clapton on the album Riding With The King.
King was awarded his 15th Grammy in 2009 in the traditional blues album category for One Kind Favor.
King has battled Type II diabetes for more than 20 years Last October, he cancelled dates after falling ill.
He was admitted to hospital with high blood pressure and a diabetes-related illness in April this year.