King, who had been recording music and performing live since the late 1940s, died in his sleep in Las Vegas on Thursday, aged 89. The Mississippi-born musician, best known for his hits ‘Lucille’, ‘Sweet Black Angel’ and ‘Rock Me Baby’, had worked with the likes of Eric Clapton and U2.
Among those speaking in honour of King today include former Beatle Ringo Starr, hip-hop group Wu Tang Clan, rapper Chuck D, Kiss’ Gene Simmons, Diplo, Cat Power, Slash, Edwyn Collins, Lenny Kravitz, Pulled Apart By Horses and more. Non-musicians that have paid their respects include President Barack Obama, Samuel L Jackson, Hugh Laurie and Lenny Henry.
Obama has released a statement that reads, “The blues has lost its King and America has lost a legend.”
Ringo Starr meanwhile wrote on Twitter, “God bless BB King peace and love to his family,” while Lenny Kravitz added, “anyone could play a thousand notes and never say what you said in one”.
Eric Clapton said in a video message posted to Facebook, “I want to thank my dear friend BB King for all the inspiration and encouragement he gave me as a player over the years, and for the friendship that we enjoyed.”
Pulled Apart By Horses said that King was “one of the first guitarists” that inspired them to play, saying that his “music will never die”. See a collection of tweets below and watch Clapton’s video tribute.
BB King suffered ill health in recent times and was receiving “home hospice care” following his recent hospitalisation. The guitarist and singer was rushed to a hospital in Las Vegas in April, with the reason cited as “the result of dehydration from his Type II diabetes”.
King was awarded 15 Grammies during his lifetime. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.