The death of music legend B.B. King has taken a turn worthy of one of his forlorn blues classics.
The Associated Press is reporting that two of “The Thrill Is Gone” singer’s daughters, Karen Williams and Patty King, are now alleging that he was poisoned by two of his close aides. King, who suffered from diabetes and had been in declining health from some time died in his sleep at age 89 on May 14.
In affidavits obtained by the AP, the two heirs to King’s estate claim that his business manager, LaVerne Toney, and his personal assistant, Myron Johnson, prevented family members from seeing the singer in his final days and may have been responsible for their father’s death.
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“I believe my father was poisoned and that he was administered foreign substances,” Patty King and Karen Williams said in identical statements taken by their attorney, Larissa Drohobyczer. “I believe my father was murdered,” they added.
Patty King alleges that she saw Toney give her father an unknown substance orally months before his death.
Toney, who has been named the executor of King’s estate, told the AP, “They’ve been making allegations all along. What’s new?” The King estate is estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars.
“I hope they have a factual basis that they can demonstrate for their defamatory and libelous allegations,” Brent Bryson, an attorney for King’s estate, told the AP. Bryson insists that three separate physicians verified that the “King of Blues” received proper medical care and died peacefully.
An autopsy on King was performed Sunday and the results could take up to eight weeks.
“At this point, we don’t have evidence that these allegations of foul play will be substantiated,” said Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg in a statement Monday. “However, we are taking them very seriously and will be conducting a thorough investigation. We are coordinating our investigative efforts with the Homicide Division of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. I expect the investigation will take a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks.”
“This is extremely disrespectful to B.B. King,” Bryson told the AP. “He did not want invasive medical procedures. He made the decision to return home for hospice care instead of staying in a hospital. These unfounded allegations have caused Mr. King to undergo an autopsy, which is exactly what he didn’t want.”
King is alleged to have fathered as many as 15 children. Drohobyczer reportedly represents nine of his heirs.
Editor’s note: The Associated Press originally reported that the Las Vegas police were investigating the allegations of B.B. King’s heirs. The Las Vegas Metro police department has since said they were misquoted. “We will not be commenting on this matter unless some form of criminality becomes associated with the decendent’s demise,” Sgt. John Sheahan of the Vegas police said in a statement Monday.