Blues legend BB King dies at 89

King had a deep, resonant singing voice and an immediately-recognizable guitar sound.

By REUTERS
May 15, 2015 09:44
BB King

BB King. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Guitarist BB King, who took the blues from rural juke joints to the mainstream and influenced a generation of rock guitarists from Eric Clapton to Stevie Ray Vaughan, has died, the Los Angeles Times reported on Friday. He was 89.

King, who will forever be linked with the Gibson guitars he named Lucille, died in Las Vegas, the newspaper quoted his attorney as saying.

Reuters could not immediately verify the report.

King was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in the 1980s. He was hospitalized in April for a few days after suffering from dehydration related to the disease. In May he said in a Facebook post that he was in hospice care at his home.


King had a deep, resonant singing voice and, despite having what he called "stupid fingers," an immediately-recognizable guitar sound.

His unique style of trilling the strings with a fluttering left-hand vibrato, which he called it "the butterfly," helped shape early rock. He delivered stinging single-note licks that brimmed with emotion and were copied by white rock guitarists including Jeff Beck and Bonnie Raitt.

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