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Foul play ruled out in B.B. King's death; musician died of natural causes, coroner says

Foul play ruled out in B.B. King's death; musician died of natural causes, coroner says
Blues singer and guitarist B.B. King, shown performing in Santa Ana in 1993, died in May at 89 of natural causes, the Clark County coroner in Nevada has concluded. (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Blues musician B.B. King died of natural causes, the Clark County Coroner's office in Nevada has determined, and there was no indication that he was poisoned as alleged by his daughters following his death on May 14 at age 89.

The coroner's report, released Monday, lists the primary cause of death as Alzheimer's disease, and notes "other significant conditions" contributing to his death were coronary artery atherosclerosis, Type II diabetes, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure and cerebrovascular disease.

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"At this point we can say with confidence that Mr. King died of natural causes," Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg said in a statement, following the homicide investigation his office launched because relatives said they suspected foul play. "Our condolences go out to the family and many friends of Mr. King, and we hope this determination brings them some measure of closure."

Two of King's daughters — Karen Williams and Patty King — stated in a court filing, "I believe my father was poisoned and that he was administered foreign substances. I believe my father was murdered." They had accused his business manager, LaVerne Toney, and personal assistant, Myron Johnson, of hastening their father's death.

A lawyer for the blues musician's estate, for which Toney is executor, told the Associated Press that the accusations were "ridiculous" and "extremely disrespectful."

The 15-time Grammy Award-winning singer and guitarist, best known for his hit "The Thrill is Gone," was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

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