Legendary blues artist B.B. King died at the age of 89 on Thursday night (May 14th), according to multiple media reports. King’s lawyer reported that King passed away in his sleep at his home in Las Vegas. He had long suffered from Type II diabetes and canceled a tour last October due to ill health. He never performed live again.
Known for classic songs like “The Thrill Is Gone,” King was a touring artist for more than 50 years averaging 275 shows a year. He also released more than 50 albums since the 1940s, was inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Blues Hall of Fame, won 15 Grammy Awards — including a Lifetime Achievement Award — and was the recipient of Kennedy Center Honors from President Bill Clinton in 1995.
Ranked Number Six on Rolling Stone’s 2011 list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, King influenced generations of blues and rock guitarists and was one of the biggest blues artists to cross over from regional success to mainstream and commercial fame within his own lifetime.
Born in Mississippi as Riley B. King on September 16, 1925, King worked in the cotton fields as an orphan before starting on the path that made him a living legend and a national treasure.
Photo Courtesy of MCA/UMe