BB King wake to be held in Las Vegas before Mississippi burial

2015-05-19 11:49

New York - Fans will pay last respects to BB King in Las Vegas before the blues legend returns to be buried in his native Mississippi, his estate and reports said on Monday.

The "King of the Blues" died on Thursday at age 89 in Las Vegas, where he kept a home amid years of intense touring that he stopped only months ago.

His official website announced a wake for King this Friday at a funeral home in the desert entertainment hub.

One of his daughters - Claudette King, a singer who calls herself "The Bluz Queen" - also reported the wake and said it would be followed by a service on Saturday.

The music legend will then be buried next week at his museum in Indianola, Mississippi, near where he grew up, according to The Clarion-Ledger, the daily newspaper in the state capital Jackson.

A woman leaves a message of condolence on a poster outside B.B. King's Blues Club & Grill, in New York's Times Square. (Richard Drew, AP)

A museum official had no immediate comment but said that arrangements related to King's death were being finalised.

The final resting spot could turn the museum into even more of a tourist draw. Elvis Presley was buried at his Graceland estate, which draws some 500 000 visitors a year and almost single-handedly put Memphis on the tourist map.

The BB King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center opened in 2008 to showcase artifacts from the legendary guitarist as well as the cultural heritage of the Mississippi Delta, the northwestern part of the state where the blues was born.

BB King was born around the nearby town of Itta Bena to sharecroppers and toiled in the cotton fields as a child before picking up the guitar.

King is often considered one of the instrument's greatest masters, known for his sharp single notes and vibrato on his electric guitar he christened Lucille.

Playing shows nearly every night for decades, King saw himself as an ambassador to preserve the blues -- the genre rooted in African American spirituals and which, in no small part due to him, influenced the development of rock.

A statue of a guitar, displayed outside the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola is adorned with a black bow. (Adrian Sainz, AP)

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