On Sunday, it was announced that blues legend B.B. King has officially cancelled his eight remaining tour dates this fall due to sickness. While performing on Oct. 3 in Chicago at the House of Blues, the guitarist fell as a result of dehydration and exhaustion. The fall that the performer sustained has made him unable to complete the tour, some dates of which were scheduled at his own establishment in New York.
King’s touring has been fairly active in recent years despite a “farewell” world tour in 2006. Since that tour, he has continued to reach audiences on a regular basis, undergoing tours through the United States and Europe combined with appearances at notable festivals like the New Orleans Jazz Festival and Glastonbury. Statistically, this is not an abnormal number of gigs for the 89-year-old rocker. In 2003, he had been documented as performing over 15,000 shows, and even at that point in his career he had passed the 50-year mark.
It is difficult to decipher the depth of the artist’s musical legacy, considering he is cited by nearly every significant guitarist as an inspiration. One of many tributes to this was the 2000 album Riding with the King, the Grammy winning record he collaborated on with Eric Clapton. In 2012, filmmaker Jon Brewer released The Life of Riley, a documentary delving into his life, one that featured Clapton as well, along with Bono, President Obama, Ringo Starr and many more in an attempt to further stress the legacy of the legend’s life and work.
When B.B. King cancelled his remaining tour dates this fall, it was not the first time in recent memory that the performer has struggled. In a St. Louis performance earlier this year, the musician performed a distressing set that was later attributed to him missing a very important dose of his diabetes medication. After the performance he issued an apology humbly requesting support from his fans. With that said, King still maintains a very strong touring circuit, one that would suit performers 65 years younger than the famed guitarist. At 89, audiences have come to an understanding with the blues legend that he cannot be expected to perform as he once did. Many fondly refer to him as the “King of the Blues” and a living legend of the genre, so being accepting of the star’s old age has become a mutual understanding.
No more information has been released in regard to King’s condition or the extended details of the fall that has caused him to cancel his remaining tour dates. The announcement, which was officially released on King’s website and later filtered to the media and his official social networking pages, was succinct and unspecific as to the nature of his condition. The release was only a few lines, stating that King had been immediately treated by a doctor and that his remaining tour dates are no longer on the table. The ambiguity of the situation has left fans worried as to whether or not King will be able to return to the stage in the future. At this point in time, however, the guitarist’s camp is keeping any details unreleased.