B.B. King viewing set for Vegas ahead of Mississippi funeral
May. 18, 2015
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A public viewing for blues legend B.B. King will be held in Las Vegas before his body is sent to Mississippi, where plans are being made for services in his hometown next week, King's business manager said Monday.
A private family funeral also will be held in Las Vegas for the guitar genius dubbed the King of the Blues, who died at his home here Thursday at age 89.
King will be buried on the grounds of the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in his hometown of Indianola, Mississippi, said Allen Hammons, a member of the museum board of directors.
Arrangements are still being made for the Indianola funeral and burial.
In Las Vegas, a public viewing will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday at Palm Mortuary West, King's business agent, LaVerne Toney, told The Associated Press.
People will be able pass King's open casket, but there won't be seating or a memorial service during the viewing, mortuary manager Matthew Phillips said.
A private service for family members will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at the larger downtown Palm Mortuary chapel, which seats 400. Toney and Phillips said the media will be excluded.
Toney, King's business manager of 39 years, has power-of-attorney over King's affairs. She said she expects by Tuesday to have arrangements for King's funeral and burial next week in Indianola.
King was hospitalized several times in recent weeks before he died of a series of small strokes attributable to his longstanding battle with Type 2 diabetes, his physician and the coroner in Las Vegas said.
A hospice nurse and King's tour manager and personal assistant, Myron Johnson, were at King's 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 on Sept. 16, 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 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 also was denied permission last month to visit his old friend.
A judge in Las Vegas said two investigations found no evidence King was abused.
Associated Press writer Emily Wagster Pettus in Jackson, Mississippi, contributed to this report.