Bidding farewell to a blues legend: Fans walk alongside B.B. King’s coffin in public viewing

Friends and fans got the chance to file past B.B. King’s coffin during a public viewing Friday in the Mississippi Delta, the land that gave birth to the blues.

The visitation comes a day before the funeral for the man who influenced generations of singers and guitarists.

King was 89 when he died May 14 at his home in Las Vegas. A public viewing and invitation-only memorial service were held in that city before his body was flown to Memphis, Tennessee, for a tribute Wednesday.

Hundreds of people lined the roads to catch a glimpse of the hearse that drove his coffin from Memphis to his hometown of Indianola, Mississippi.

He will be buried on the grounds of the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola.

The viewing follows a moving tribute that was help by fans earlier this week in Memphies, Tennessee.

On Wednesday, thousands of music fans gathered in the city of Memphis to pay tribute to King.

The street was where a young Riley B. King was nicknamed the Beale Street Blues Boy – later shortened to B.B. – and where King rose to fame.

The Memphis-based Mighty Souls Brass Band played ‘When the Saints Go Marching In.’ Behind them and just ahead of the hearse, drummer Rodd Bland – son of the late blues singer Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland – carried one of King’s signature ‘Lucille’ guitars.

The tributes came just days after B.B. King’s business manager was accused of poisoning the singer by two of his daughters.

LaVerne Toney, King’s longtime manager, was in Memphis, Tennessee on Wednesday for a memorial concert in honor of the blues legend and came face-to-face with the women, Karen Williams and Patty King.

The pair had alleged in documents on Monday that Toney and King’s assistant, Myron Johnson, killed their father.

Toney spent most of her time with Tony Coleman, King’s drummer, who performed along with other members of the band in honor of the legendary singer.

Williams and King meanwhile were seen sobbing as they walked alongside a hearse carrying their father inside.

The two – along with sisters Rita Washington and Barbara King Winfree, and brother Willie King – first raised suspicions last week during a viewing of King’s body about possible foul play.

They said last Thursday that they didn’t think their father looked like himself.

Williams and King also accused Toney of keeping them from seeing their father for a week after he died May 14 at home at age 89 – and of preventing them from taking photos of him in his casket.

‘A picture paints 1,000 words,’ Patty King said as she showed cellphone images of the same family group with their father at his birthday in September.

‘He loved his children.’

The five family members refer to themselves as a family board.

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