Riley B. King, the blues legend known popularly as B.B. King, died Thursday night, according to reports. He was 89.
His official Website indicates he died in his sleep. He’d been battling diabetes and other health issues for the past few years.
A Mississippi native, King’s music career spans more than 60 years, and he had an iconic impact on the industry, influencing greats such as Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow, Mick Jagger and Elton John.
He was ranked No. 6 on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time in 2011 and was also an inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. The epitome of longevity and adaptability while staying true to his music and passion, King appeared at more than 200 concerts per year on average into his 70s.
Other awards and honors include the NARAS’ Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award, the National Award of Distinction from the University of Mississippi, and honorary doctorates from Tougaloo (MS) College, Yale University, Berklee College of Music, Rhodes College of Memphis, Mississippi Valley State University, and Brown Universit. In 1992, he received.
As a brand builder and entrepreneur, he opened B.B. King’s Blues Club in 1991, and the franchise has expanded to Los Angeles, New York City, and Connecticut. As an author, he released his autobiography, “Blues All Around Me,” an international bestseller.
President Obama offered the following sentiments on King’s death:
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 15, 2015
More fans, friends, and celebrities took to social media to express their condolences and love for the music icon:
— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) May 15, 2015
BB King Calls This One Of His Best Performances (inside Sing Sing Prison in New York in 1970s): https://t.co/NYgZiyCcu5
— Kevin Powell (@kevin_powell) May 15, 2015
God bless the life of a musical icon…. #BBKING
— Kirk Franklin (@kirkfranklin) May 15, 2015
My prayers and love to the family of the legendary BB King http://t.co/jwu6xCoQgP
— marlon wayans (@MarlonWayans) May 15, 2015
— Debbie Allen (@msdebbieallen) May 15, 2015
— Tichina Arnold (@TichinaArnold) May 15, 2015
— Queen Latifah (@IAMQUEENLATIFAH) May 15, 2015
the thrill will never be gone,but always missed, #BBKing
— Luke James (@whoisLukejames) May 15, 2015