B.B. King’s Death to Be Investigated As a Homicide

The Nevada coroner’s office said Monday it will investigate B.B. King’s death as a homicide.

King died May 14 at age 89 in Las Vegas, where he lived. His daughters have expressed concerns that his death might be the result of foul play.

"Our coroner takes jurisdctn over #BBKing body, performs autopsy. Results:6-8wks min. Homicide investgtn w/ @LVMPD," the Clark County, Nevada coroner's office announced May 25 via Twitter.

Two of King’s daughters allege that his business manager, Laverne Toney, and King’s personal assistant, Myron Johnson, hastened their father’s death by poisoning him.

“I believe my father was poisoned and that he was administered foreign substances,” his daughters Patty King and Karen Williams said in identically worded sections of affidavits provided to the Associated Press by their lawyer, Larissa Drohobyczer. “I believe my father was murdered,” they say.

Patty King, Williams and another of King’s daughters, Rita Washington, sought control of King’s affairs in the weeks before his death. In that claim, they contended Toney stole $20 to $30 million from King along with watches and a ring and denied him his medications and medical care.

Those claims came within days of King’s hospitalization for a heart attack on April 30. According to Patty King, her father was not eating and was dehydrated, and Toney refused to take him to the hospital. Patty called the police, who sent paramedics to King’s residence, who agreed he needed medical attention.

A Las Vegas judge said he found no reason to believe King lacked the capacity to manage his own health-care decisions. In addition, police and social services uncovered no evidence that Toney was abusing King or taking advantage of him.

These new allegations that Toney poisoned King come days after a public viewing of King’s body, held May 22, and a family service, held May 23.

King’s death was attributed to his two-decade struggle with Type II diabetes. In the days following the guitarist’s death, Clark County coroner John Fudenberg determined said King died from multiple small strokes that resulted from reduced blood flow due to diabetes.

King is scheduled to be buried Saturday in his hometown of Indianola, Mississippi. The investigation into his death should not delay his burial, Fudenberg said Monday. The coroner said an autopsy was performed Sunday. Test results will take up to eight weeks and should not be affected by embalming.

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