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BB King Falls Ill During Performance; Guitar Legend Cancels Shows [UPDATED SCHEDULE]

by   Oct 5, 2014 11:18 AM EDT

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B.B. King has been touring for the better part of seven decades, but there's a chance we might have already seen the iconic Delta bluesman's final live performance.

From an official statement on his website:

Mr. King fell ill last night, Oct 3, 2014, during his performance at the House of Blues in Chicago.

He was immediately evaluated by a doctor and diagnosed with dehydration and suffering from exhaustion whereby causing the eight remaining shows of his current tour to be cancelled.

King turned 89 last month, and was already in a bit of trouble earlier this year for botching a St. Louis performance badly enough that attendees departed before it was over.

From the Huffington Post on April 7:

Concertgoers said King's rambling Friday night set at the Peabody Opera House featured just a handful of complete songs amid meandering musical snippets, long-winded soliloquies, an 8-piece backup band that missed its cues and a 15-minute sing-along of "You Are My Sunshine."

Fans were obviously not pleased.

"Is he a living legend? Absolutely," digital marketing executive Larry Goldstein, who paid $150 for a pair of tickets plus parking, said. Do I love his music? You bet. But when you're paying that type of money, you expect to see a show."

Reports of heckling at the April show saddened St. Louis record-shop owner Tom Ray.

"If your 88-year-old father or grandfather was great in a particular art or craft, and his performance was disappointing, would you heckle him?" Ray said. "It totally saddened me to hear about that."

The Post also noted that the spring incident was not uncommon for King, who travels with a number of medical conditions including diabetes.

During a November concert in North Texas, the bluesman's voice "was weak and ragged, and his trademark guitar style had dissolved into a parade of sour notes," according to the Dallas Morning News.

There are currently no official dates scheduled after King's collapse and ensuing cancellation of eight future shows.

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