By Adrian Sanz
INDIANOLA, Miss. (AP) — Outside Indianola, B.B. King was a blues superstar, a guitar legend who inspired Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and countless other musicians. But in this small farming town in north Mississippi, he was known as Mr. Riley. And he’d return here each year to meet with friends and relatives, and to play the blues for townspeople out in the sun on Church street.
“They would come and stand around and listen to him. He would stay there practically all day,’’ said Ruthie King, a 65-year-old who is not related to the bluesman. “You could hear the guitar all over town because he had an amplifier.’’
B.B. King, born as Riley B. King, died at 89 on Thursday (May 14) at his home in Las Vegas.
King had suffered a series of small strokes attributable to his Type 2 diabetes. He was in hospice care at the time of his death.
A public viewing for King will be held today, Friday, May 22, at the Palm Mortuary in Las Vegas. A private family service will be held in Las Vegas on Saturday, May 23.
His body will be flown to Memphis, Tenn., the place where a young King was nicknamed the Beale Street Blues Boy. It is expected to arrive at the airport at about noon, and will be driven in a procession to Handy Park on Beale Street, where a tribute will be held that day.
After that, King’s body will be driven to Indianola, Mississippi, which King considered his hometown.
A public viewing will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, May 29, at the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola, and the funeral will be held at 11 a.m., on May 30, at the nearby Bell Grove Missionary Baptist church. The 15-time Grammy winner will be buried later that day in a private ceremony at the museum, which King helped develop.
“From a practical standpoint, we feel comfortable knowing his final resting place will receive perpetual care at the museum,” the facility’s director, Dion Brown, said in a written statement.
The famed guitarist and singer was married twice and had 15 natural and adopted children.
He will be buried on the grounds of the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive center in Indianola.
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