BB King’s death probed for foul play

Police in Las Vegas have launched a homicide investigation into the death of BB King, a Nevada coroner’s office said on Monday, after the blues guitar legend’s daughters reportedly accused his aides of poisoning him.

King died at age 89 on May 14 in Las Vegas, where he kept his residence while he kept up a gruelling schedule of tours that ended only last year.

Two of King’s daughters – Karen Williams and Patty King – have alleged he was poisoned by his business manager Laverne Toney and his personal assistant, it was reported.

“I believe my father was poisoned and that he was administrated foreign substances to induce his premature death,” the daughters wrote in separate but identical affidavits. 

“[I] request a formal investigation into this matter,” the court documents reportedly said.

Toney, who is the executor of King’s estate, shrugged off the daughters’ charge.

“They’ve been making allegations all along. What’s new?” Toney reportedly said.

An attorney for King’s estate also dismissed the daughters’ accusations as “ridiculous”.

“I hope they have a factual basis that they can demonstrate for their defamatory and libelous allegations,”  Brent Bryson said in a statement.

Earlier the local coroner confirmed the homicide investigation and said that King’s remains would undergo an autopsy.

“Our coroner takes jurisdctn over #BBKing body, performs autopsy. Results:6-8wks min. Homicide investgtn w/ @LVMPD,” the Clark County, Nevada coroner’s office announced on Twitter, referring to the Las Vegas police department.

Given the timeframe for the autopsy, King’s funeral in his beloved Memphis has been postponed, local media reported.

Riley B King was born in poverty and grew up working in cotton fields, but went on to master the guitar and entered the music business after traveling to Memphis and working for radio stations.

He became known as the Beale Street Blues Boy, which eventually earned him the moniker BB King.

For decades, King played shows almost every night, becoming the premier ambassador for the blues – the music genre that emerged from African American spirituals in the Deep South.

In Memphis, his longtime place of residence, the BB King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center opened in 2008 to showcase artifacts from the legendary guitarist, as well as the cultural heritage of the Mississippi Delta.

His final resting place could turn the museum into even more of a tourist draw.

Elvis Presley was buried at his Graceland estate, which draws some 500 000 visitors a year and is by far the biggest tourist attraction in Memphis. – AFP

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