Getty Images / Scott Harrison

B.B. King Dies At 89

Blues icon B.B. King has died at the age of 89, following a 20-year battle with diabetes.

By Katherine Biek | May 15, 2015

Blues singer and musician B.B. King has passed away at the age of 89, according to his daughter Patty King.

King was recently rushed to the hospital after suffering from a diabetes-related emergency. The singer has been battling the condition for over 20 years. (Video via PBS)

Born Riley B. King in 1925, King left work on a plantation to pursue a music career in Memphis. According to King’s website, the singer’s “first big break came in 1948 when he performed on Sonny Boy Williamson’s radio program.”

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King soon decided he needed a unique stage name. He started out as the Beale Street Blues Boy. The name went through several revisions and he ended up being called B.B. King.

Throughout his career, King released 43 studio albums. King is also the only performer to have won 15 Grammy awards in the blues genre.

The King of Blues was also inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in the 1980s.

He was even included in Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of all time list, ranking at No. 6. The publication called him “a genuine soloist.”

In 2010, King sat down with the Academy of Achievement and spoke about what blues music means to him.

“Blues singing is just like singing any other kind of song. You still try to tell the story. … Your music is life. Life as we’ve lived it in the past, life as we’re living it today, and life as I believe we’ll live tomorrow,” King told the Academy of Achievement.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

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