Blues legend B.B. King was in hospice care Friday at his home in Las Vegas, according to a longtime business associate with legal control over his affairs.
The 89-year-old musician posted thanks on his official website for fans’ well-wishes and prayers after he returned home from a brief hospitalization, said Laverne Toney, King’s longtime business manager and current power-of-attorney.
“Mr. King is where he wishes to be,” Toney said. “He’s always told me he doesn’t want to be in a hospital. He wants to be at home.”
An ambulance was summoned Thursday after what Las Vegas police Officer Jesse Roybal characterized as a domestic dispute over medical care. No arrests were made, and Roybal said no criminal complaint was filed.
Toney disputed reports by celebrity website TMZ citing one of King’s daughters as saying she called police because she was upset about her father’s condition and that he had suffered a minor heart attack. Efforts by the Associated Press to reach the daughter, Patty King, were not immediately successful.
Paramedics checked King’s heart rhythm, and he was treated at the hospital for complications of high blood pressure and diabetes, Toney said. King was diagnosed with diabetes decades ago.
Roybal confirmed that police received a report on Nov. 16 claiming abuse at the house. No charges have been filed, and the police spokesman said details of the investigation were not immediately available.
King’s hospitalization was the second in a month. He posted a similar message to fans when he returned home April 7.
He canceled the final shows of his 2014 tour last October after falling ill in Chicago.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has released more than 50 albums and sold millions of records worldwide.
His guitar, famously named Lucille, has soared and wailed in songs ranging from “Every Day I Have the Blues” to “When Love Comes to Town” to “The Thrill is Gone.”
In September 1970, King recorded one of his most revered albums in Chicago, “Live in Cook County Jail,” which topped the R&B chart. It documented a typically fierce King performance, a mix of improvisation and tightly scripted classics.
He has been a frequent performer in Chicago, headlining everything from the Chicago Blues Fest in 2008 to clubs such as House of Blues. He fell ill after a performance at House of Blues last year and canceled a series of concert dates because of dehydration and exhaustion.
At Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival at a sold-out Toyota Park in Bridgeview, in 2007, King passed the torch to the next generation of blues guitar players. After performing a leering “Rock Me Baby” and a scarifying “The Thrill is Gone,” he raised a cup to his fans: “When they lay me off to rest, may the last voices I hear be yours.”
King has been a mentor to countless musicians, including Clapton, and has been looked upon as a kindly godfather figure by many Chicago blues guitarists, including the late Hubert Sumlin, who accompanied King on stage at the Crossroads festival, and Buddy Guy, who once described King as the “last blues legend standing.”
Chicago Tribune’s Greg Kot and Associated Press contributed.
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