World Lost Legendary Bluesman – B.B. King
B. B. King, whose world-weary voice and wailing guitar lifted him from the cotton fields of Mississippi to a global stage and the apex of American blues, died on Thursday, May 14th 2015 at his home in Las Vegas. He was 89.
John Fudenberg, the coroner of Clark County, Nev., said the cause was a series of small strokes attributable to Type 2 diabetes, The Associated Press reported. Mr. King, who was in hospice care, had been in poor health but had continued to perform until October, when he canceled a tour, citing dehydration and exhaustion stemming from the diabetes.
B.B King (Riley Ben King) was an American Hall of Fame blues singer, songwriter and guitarist. In 1990, King was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President George H.W. Bush. In 2006, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential blues guitarists of all time, inspiring countless other electric blues and blues rock guitarists.
Over the years, he racked up 30 Grammy nominations and 15 wins, including two in 2000: one along with Eric Clapton for Best Traditional Blues Album for “Riding with the King” and another with Dr. John for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for “Is You Is, or Is You Ain’t (My Baby).” But his true power was in the live show. On February 21, 2012, King was among the performers of “In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues”, during which President Barack Obama sang part of “Sweet Home Chicago“.King recorded for the debut album of rapper and producer Big K.R.I.T., who also hails from Mississippi. On July 5, 2012, King performed a concert at the Byblos International Festival in Lebanon.
On October 3, 2014, not feeling well enough, King had to stop his live performance at the House of Blues in Chicago, Illinois. A doctor diagnosed King with dehydration and exhaustion, and the eight remaining shows of his ongoing tour had to be cancelled. King didn’t schedule any additional shows for the remainder of the year. After the cancellation of the remaining eight shows of his 2014 tour because of health problems, King announced on October 8, 2014, he was back at home to recuperate. On May 1, 2015, after two hospitalizations caused by complications from high blood pressure and diabetes, King announced on his website :
“I am in home hospice care at my residence in Las Vegas.
Thanks to all for your well wishes and prayers.”
King is best remembered by those who knew him as a friend and a teacher. His theory on the blues was profound: “People all over the world have problems,” he wrote in his 1988 book Off the Record: An Oral History of Popular Music. “And as long as people have problems, the blues can never die.” Hard work, never give up, and always learn something new everyday are the best word to describe his life and dedication.
Thanks to King for his biggest dedication to make the blues live on.