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BB King dies after battling diabetes-related illness

Published 15/05/2015

Blues legend B.B. King performs February 17, 2002 at the House of Blues in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Scott Harrison/Getty Images)
Blues legend B.B. King performs February 17, 2002 at the House of Blues in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Scott Harrison/Getty Images)
BB King who has died in Las Vegas aged 89
BB King performs during a concert at the bullring of Valencia in 2004
US blues musician BB King who has died in Las Vegas aged 89
BB King during his first performance at the Marciac Jazz festival, southwestern France, in 1997.
BB King has died aged 89

BB King has died in his sleep aged 89 after battling diabetes-related illness.

Mr King, known for hits such as Sweet Black Angel and Rock Me Baby, died at 9.40pm last night in his Las Vegas home.

The guitarists is considered one of the most influential blues musicians of all time and was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Mr King won almost every award going, including 15 Grammys, over a prolific career that saw him work with muscians from U2 to Stevie Wonder.

Formerly a farm hand, Riley B King was born on a cotton plant in 1925 and raised by his maternal grandmother.

He gained his iconic name, B B, while working at WDIA in the 1940s as a singer a disk jockey, earning himself the nickname Beake Street Blues Boy, later shortened to Blues Boy and finally BB.

Mr King, whose playing unique style still influences guitarists today, reportedly referred to every guitar he owned as Lucille after an incident early in his career.

Playing in a dance hall in Arkansas in 1949, Mr King and spectators were forced to evacuate after two brawling men knocked over a kerosene lamp igniting the wooden structure.

Once outside, the performer realised he had left his instrument inside the hall and rushed back inside to rescue it.

After the event, Mr King learnt that the two men were fighting over a woman named Lucille and reportedly named the guitar - and every one that followed - Lucille as a lesson.

B.B. King
B.B. King
BB King died in his sleep at his Las Vegas home at the age of 89, his lawyer said. (AP)
GLASTONBURY, ENGLAND - JUNE 24: BB King performs at the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 24, 2011 in Glastonbury, England. The festival, which started in 1970 when several hundred hippies paid 1 GBP to watch Marc Bolan, has grown into Europe's largest music festival attracting more than 175,000 people over five days. (Photo by Fergus McDonald/Getty Images)
GLASTONBURY, ENGLAND - JUNE 24: BB King performs at the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 24, 2011 in Glastonbury, England. The festival, which started in 1970 when several hundred hippies paid 1 GBP to watch Marc Bolan, has grown into Europe's largest music festival attracting more than 175,000 people over five days. (Photo by Fergus McDonald/Getty Images)
From left, The Edge, BB King and Bono are seen on stage at "The Blues & Jazz" Gala Concert at the Kodak Theatre on Sunday Oct. 26, 2008 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark Mainz)

Known as a prolific performer, well into his 70s Mr King would perform as many as 250 to 300 concerts annually.

He was recently admitted to hospital with high blood pressure and a diabetes-related illness, having lived with the illness for over 30 years and often campaigned for greater awareness of the disease.

Source: Independent

Independent News Service

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