B.B. King, the last of the Southern-born blues musicians who defined modern electric blues in the 1950s and would influence scores of rock and blues guitarists, has died. He was 89.
The Mississippi-born guitarist, who had suffered from Type II diabetes for two decades, died peacefully in his sleep at 9:40 p.m. PDT Thursday at his home in Las Vegas, his attorney Brent Bryson tells the AP. In October, King fell ill during a show and after being diagnosed with dehydration and exhaustion, canceled his concert tour and had not returned to touring at the time of his death.
With his trusty Gibson guitar Lucille, King developed his audiences in stages, connecting with African-Americans region by region in the 1950s and '60s, breaking through to the American mainstream in the '70s and becoming a global ambassador for the blues soon thereafter, becoming the first blues musician to play the Soviet Union.