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Riley King's Online Memorial Photo

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Memorial Biography

B.B. King, was an American blues singer, songwriter and guitarist. He is considered one of the most influential blues musicians of all time, earning the nickname "The King of the Blues", and one of the "Three Kings of the Blues Guitar.

Riley B. King was born on September 16, 1925, on a cotton plantation called Berclair, near the town of Itta Bena, Mississippi,the son of sharecroppers Albert and Nora Ella King. He considered the nearby city of Indianola, Mississippi to be his home. When Riley was 4 years old, his mother left his father for another man, so the boy was raised by his maternal grandmother, Elnora Farr, in Kilmichael, Mississippi.

King was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and the Official Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame in 2014. In 2004, he was awarded the international Polar Music Prize, given to artists "in recognition of exceptional achievements in the creation and advancement of music.

Among his Grammys: best traditional blues album: "A Christmas Celebration of Hope," and best pop instrumental performance for "Auld Lang Syne" in 2003; best male rhythm 'n' blues performance in 1971 for his "The Thrill Is Gone"; best ethnic or traditional recording in 1982 for the album "There Must Be a Better World Somewhere." A collaboration with Clapton, "Riding With the King," won a Grammy in 2001 for best traditional blues recording.

After the cancellation of the remaining eight shows of his 2014 tour because of health problems, King announced on October 8, 2014, he was back at home to recuperate.On May 1, 2015, after two hospitalizations caused by complications from high blood pressure and diabetes, King announced on his website that he was in hospice care at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada. He died on May 14, 2015 from a series of small strokes caused by Type 2 diabetes.

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