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Clapton leads tributes to 'dear friend' and blues legend BB King

Eric Clapton has paid tribute to legendary blues musician BB King, who has died aged 89.

The guitarist, who enjoyed hits with The Yardbirds and Cream before embarking on a successful solo career, posted a video tribute on Facebook to the man he called a "dear friend".

"I want to thank him for all the inspiration and encouragement he gave me as a player over the years and the friendship we enjoyed," he said.

"There is not a lot left to say because this music is almost a thing of the past now and there are not many left who play it in the pure way that BB did.

"He was a beacon for all of us who love this kind of music and I thank him from the bottom of my heart."

King's lawyer Brent Bryson said the musician, who suffered from diabetes, died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday at his home in Las Vegas, where he had been receiving hospice care.

His style was an inspiration to scores of musicians and he mentored stars including Clapton as well as collaborating with U2 on the 1989 track When Love Comes To Town.

Ringo Starr tweeted: "God bless BB King, peace and love to his family, from Ringo and Barbara."

Rapper Snoop Dogg posted a photo of King holding his trademark Gibson guitar, which he always named Lucille, on his Instagram page.

Actor Hugh Laurie, who himself released blues albums in 2011 and 2013, tweeted: "Oh God. BB King. Let the sad times roll."

Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora wrote: "My friend and legend BB King passed. I'm so so sad. He was so great to me. We've lost the King. My love and prayers to his family."

Lenny Kravitz tweeted: "BB, anyone could play a thousand notes and never say what you said in one. RIP BB King."

Bryan Adams added similar sentiments

"RIP BB King, one of the best blues guitarists ever, maybe the best. He could do more on one note than anyone," he wrote.

Gene Simmons said: "Very sad. BB King, rest in peace."

British stars also added their condolences, with Homeland star David Harewood tweeting: "RIP BB King. The thrill is gone. Legend."

"Sad news, goodbye to the great BB King," said The Walking Dead's David Morrissey, with a YouTube clip of one of his performances.