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Late blues great B.B. King: Legacy lives on in Mississippi

INDIANOLA, Miss. (AP) — Outside Indianola, B.B. King was a blues superstar, a guitar legend who inspired Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and countless other musicians. But in this small farming town in north Mississippi, he was known as Mr. Riley. And he’d return here each year to meet with friends and relatives, and to play the blues for townspeople out in the sun on Church Street.

“They would come and stand around and listen to him. He would stay there practically all day,” said Ruthie King, a 65-year-old who is not related to the bluesman. “You could hear the guitar all over town because he had an amplifier.”

B.B. King, born as Riley B. King, died at 89 on Thursday at his home in Las Vegas.

Ruthie King said she found out Mr. Riley had died from her son in a text message Friday morning, which referenced the musician’s biggest hit.

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