King of the Blues BB King dies in his sleep

One of the greats of American music BB King died at his home in Las Vegas, after a short illness.

BB King

His lawyer Brent Bryson reported that he died peacefully in his sleep at home.

King’s career began in 1943 as a guitarist with the Famous St John’s Quartet in his home state of Mississippi.

He later played with Bukka White in Tennessee before starting solo work in Arkansas in 1948. He was soon a regular DJ on Tennessee radio, using the name Blues Boy.

His first record was launched in 1949 before he signed with RMP Records and worked with producer Sam Phillips.

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His first hit was 1952’s 3 O’Clock Blues and a string of successes followed, including a Grammy Award in 1970 for his version of The Thrill Is Gone.

He reached a new audience with When Love comes to Town, a collaboration with U2, in 1988.

King believed in hard work and practice, once saying: “The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you.” On the genre he loved, he said: “The blues? It’s the mother of American music. That’s what it is – the source.”

He had continued touring until falling ill several months ago. Following a minor heart attack last month he announced he was “in hospice care in Las Vegas” and added: “Thanks to all for your well wishes and prayers.”