The news that music fans of all genres had been waiting for has finally arrived. B.B. King, known as the ‘King of the Blues,’ has died at the age of 89.
The legendary guitarist died in his sleep on Thursday in Las Vegas, according to his attorney.
Many people are heartbroken by the news, but it’s not surprising given King’s recent spate of hospitalizations for diabetes-related ailments.
His death brings to an end an almost 30-year fight with diabetes that prompted him to cancel eight tour dates in October.
For more than 60 years, King has been the source of a truly genuine and unusual sound that has been lauded even by those who know nothing about the world of blues—nothing but its adored king’s name.
It’s a title easily justified by King’s 15 Grammy Awards and permanent induction into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame.
Rolling Stone has named him one of the best guitarists of all time, ranking him third only to Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman.
Throughout his career, it was clear that King was one of the ‘most important artists the blues has ever produced,’ as noted in his 2008 biography by his buddy and the only three-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Eric Clapton.
Clapton also described him as ‘the most humble and genuine individual you could ever meet.’ In terms of scale or stature, I believe that if Robert Johnson were to be reincarnated, he would most likely be B.B. King.’
As word of King’s death spread, many expressed their appreciation and respect for him on social media.
‘BB, a thousand notes could be played and no one could ever communicate what you stated in one.” ‘#BBKing #RIP,’Lenny Kravitz tweeted.
Richie Sambora, guitarist for Bon Jovi, also turned to Twitter to express his condolences.
‘I want to thank him for all the inspiration and encouragement he offered me as a player throughout the years, as well as for our friendship,’ Clapton wrote.