Blues legend BB King has died in Las Vegas at the age of 89, his attorney has said.
King, who inspired a generation of mainstream guitarists, died late on Thursday, triggering shockwaves across social media, with stars from the music world lining up to pay tribute.
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The 15-time Grammy award winner was considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time, and influenced a generation of rock guitarists from Eric Clapton to Stevie Ray Vaughan, having released more than fifty albums and sold millions of records worldwide.
Born Riley B King on September 16, 1925 in Itta Bena, Mississippi, he began learning guitar as a boy and sang in church choirs.
After World War Two Army service, King went from touring black bars and dance halls in the 1940s and 1950s to headlining an all-blues show at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1970 and recording with the likes of Eric Clapton and U2.
King became a star on the rhythm and blues charts with 3 O’Clock Blues, Please Love Me, Every Day I Have the Blues”and Sweet Little Angel. At his peak he was on stage 300 nights a year and playing to audiences all over the world – including the former Soviet Union and China.
He still toured regularly into his 80s, although his show had been scaled back.
King was hospitalised in April for a few days after suffering from dehydration related to Type 2 diabetes. In May he said in a Facebook post that he was in hospice care at his home.
King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, awarded the National Medal for the Arts in 1990 and the Kennedy Center Honors in 1995.
In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked King at Number 3, behind only Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman on their list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.
Despite King’s decades of recognition, his final days were clouded by unseemly scenes amid a reported dispute between his family and manager over his care.