Legendary Blues Artist B.B. King Passes Away At The Age Of 89

by Sean Levinson

B.B. King, the man known as "the King of the Blues" and one of the greatest guitarists of all time, died at the age of 89.

According to CNN, King's daughter, Patty King, announced her father died in Las Vegas after being placed in home hospice care two weeks ago.

King had Type II diabetes and was forced to cancel the remainder of his tour in October due to dehydration and exhaustion.

The official cause of death is yet to be disclosed.

He was born Riley B. King on September 16, 1925 on a cotton plantation in Mississippi.

He learned guitar chords from his uncle, and when he was 12 years old, he bought his first guitar for $12, the Boston Globe reports.

King's first hit was 1951's "Three O'Clock Blues. His only Top 20 single, "The Thrill is Gone," reached number 15 on the pop charts and won him his first Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.

Here is King performing "How Blue Can You Get" in 1985.

King would go on to win 14 more Grammys, and his influence on guitar players from all genres is incomparable.

King was ranked number three in the 2003 issue of Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Guitarists," and shared the stage with everyone from Stevie Wonder to U2 to John Mayer.

In 1968, Eric Clapton told Rolling Stone,

I don't think there's a better blues guitarist in the world.

Unlike many other guitar legends, however, King regularly performed with just one type of guitar: his black Gibson, "Lucille."

King is also known for his husky voice and ability to generate an incredible amount of power with just a single note.

He toured constantly, and his massive list of honors include a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 1987.

Rest in peace, B.B. King.

Citations: Blues legend BB King dies at age 89 in Las Vegas (CNN), BB King the King of the Blues dies at 89 (Boston Globe)