LAS VEGAS — A lawyer for B.B. King who fended off a guardianship effort by some of the legendary musician’s 11 surviving adult children released statements Friday defending two of King’s personal business associates, including an aide who was with the 89-year-old “King of the Blues” when he died.
King’s business manager of 39 years, LaVerne Toney, “wants to share that even though this is a difficult time for all concerned, she is still carrying out the wishes of Mr. King,” attorney Brent Bryson said.
King’s tour manager and personal assistant, Myron Johnson, “was at B.B.’s side when he passed away, honoring his vow to Mr. King that he would never leave,” Bryson said.
Johnson wanted Friday to be left alone “to mourn in private without interference,” the attorney said.
Toney has power-of-attorney over King’s affairs. She and Johnson also thanked people who expressed condolences, Bryson said.
The statements didn’t directly address complaints by King daughters Shirley King of Oak Park, Illinois, and Rita Washington, Patty King and Karen Williams, all of North Las Vegas, that Toney prevented them from visiting their father in his final days.
The daughters said last week they were upset Toney required them to make appointments to visit King, who was in hospice care at home.
“I’ve been trying to visit with him,” Washington said Friday. “It was mean of LaVerne to keep us from seeing him.”
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame blues guitarist Buddy Guy said Friday in Chicago that he was denied permission to visit his old friend last month, when Guy played a gig in Las Vegas.
“I went in there a day early. I knew he wasn’t doing well, and I wanted to go see him and I was refused to see him by some lady who’s got control of him or something like that, and that hurt very bad,” Guy said. “And then I found out she wouldn’t let nobody see him. And I know he’s not like that.”
“I really wanted to see him,” Guy said.
Washington, who recently released a coffee-table photo book called “On the Road with My Dad the King of the Blues Mr. B.B. King,” said that her father may not have wanted visitors.
“Maybe that was his wish,” she said. “Maybe he didn’t want us to see him in his condition. It’s just sad.”
B.B. King’s physician, Dr. Darin Brimhall, and Clark County coroner John Fudenberg said Friday the cause of King’s death was multi-infarct dementia. Brimhall said King underwent a series of small strokes because of atherosclerotic vascular disease as a consequence of his long battle with blood sugar fluctuations and type 2 diabetes.
A hospice nurse was with King when he died, Fudenberg said. The nurse wasn’t immediately identified.
Williams’ effort last week to wrest legal control of King’s health and wealth from Toney was rejected by a judge in Las Vegas who said two investigations found no evidence the blues legend was being abused.
Williams didn’t immediately respond to messages Friday from The Associated Press.
Shirley King, a singer who tours as “Daughter of the Blues,” said after learning of her father’s death late Thursday that she felt she’d been misled by Toney about the gravity of her father’s condition.
Associated Press writer Caryn Rousseau in Chicago contributed to this report.
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