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Monday 26 September 2016

Public viewing for blues giant King

Published 19/05/2015 | 02:36

BB King's body is going on public view in Las Vegas
BB King's body is going on public view in Las Vegas

A public viewing for blues legend BB King will be held in Las Vegas before his body is sent to Mississippi, where he will be buried in his home town.

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A private family funeral will also be held in Las Vegas for the 89-year-old guitar genius dubbed the King of the Blues, who died at his home there last Thursday.

King will be buried on the grounds of the BB King Museum and Delta Interpretive Centre in his home town of Indianola, Mississippi, said Allen Hammons, a member of the museum board of directors.

In Las Vegas, a public viewing will be held from 3-7pm on Friday at Palm Mortuary West. People will be able pass King's open coffin, but there will not be seating or a memorial service, mortuary manager Matthew Phillips said.

A private service for family members will be held on Saturday at the larger Palm Mortuary chapel, which seats 400.

LaVerne Toney, King's business manager for 39 years, who has power of attorney over his affairs, said she expected to finalise arrangements for his funeral and burial in Indianola by today.

King was admitted to hospital several times in recent weeks before he died of a series of small strokes attributable to his long-standing battle with Type 2 diabetes.

A hospice nurse and King's tour manager and personal assistant Myron Johnson were at his bedside when he died, said Brent Bryson, a lawyer who represented King in a guardianship dispute with several of the musician's 11 surviving adult children.

King was born Riley B King in 1925 to sharecropper parents. He was married twice and had 15 natural and adopted children.

Daughters Shirley King of Chicago, and Rita Washington, Patty King and Karen Williams, all of North Las Vegas, complained that Ms Toney prevented them from visiting their father in his final days.

Blues guitarist and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Buddy Guy said he was also denied permission last month to visit his old friend.

A judge in Las Vegas said two investigations found no evidence King was abused.

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