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Coroner: No Evidence B.B. King Was Poisoned Before Death

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In this Aug. 8, 2013 file photo, Blues music legend B.B. King performs on Frampton’s Guitar Circus 2013 Tour at Pier Six Pavilion, in Baltimore. The coroner in Las Vegas says there’s no evidence King was poisoned before he died of natural causes in May 2015. Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg said Monday, July 13, 2015, that an autopsy sought by two of the musical icon’s 11 adult children came back cause of death alzheimers disease with other significant conditions. (Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP, File)

In this Aug. 8, 2013 file photo, Blues music legend B.B. King performs on Frampton’’s Guitar Circus 2013 Tour at Pier Six Pavilion, in Baltimore. The coroner in Las Vegas says there’s no evidence King was poisoned before he died of natural causes in May 2015. Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg said Monday, July 13, 2015, that an autopsy sought by two of the musical icon’s 11 adult children came back cause of death alzheimers disease with other significant conditions. (Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP, File)

KEN RITTER, Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Medical examiners found no evidence to prove the allegation that blues legend B.B. King was poisoned before he died of natural causes in May, according to autopsy findings made public Monday.

Tests conducted after two of the musical icon’s 11 adult children said their father had been murdered showed the cause of death was Alzheimer’s disease, plus physical conditions including coronary disease, heart failure and the effects of Type 2 diabetes, Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg told The Associated Press.

Daughters Karen Williams and Patty King had said through their attorney, Larissa Drohobyczer, that King’s business manager, LaVerne Toney, and his personal assistant, Myron Johnson, hastened their father’s death. Drohobyczer didn’t immediately respond to messages Monday.

Brent Bryson, a lawyer for King’s estate, has called the claims defamatory and libelous.

“Ms. Toney and Mr. Johnson are very happy that these false and fictional allegations that were made against them by certain of Mr. King’s children have been dispelled,” Bryson said. “Hopefully we can now focus on the body of musical work that B.B. King left the world, and he can finally rest in peace.”

The findings close official investigations of King’s death, Fudenberg said.

Homicide Lt. Dan McGrath said there is no active police investigation.

The allegations drew intense interest while the daughters led a group of several of King’s surviving adult children and grandchildren in an unsuccessful bid to wrest guardianship and oversight of the King estate from Toney.

Williams, Patty King and daughters Rita Washington and Barbara Winfree had Drohobyczer contest their father’s will. They enlisted prominent national attorneys Benjamin Crump and Jose Baez to investigate whether B.B. King was properly cared for before he died.

Crump, Baez, Williams, Patty King and Winfree didn’t immediately respond Monday to messages.

B.B. King died in hospice care at home in Las Vegas at age 89.

Washington said she’s still upset that no family members were present. But she said she was relieved to learn her father hadn’t been poisoned.

“I’m glad it’s natural causes,” Washington said. “We just didn’t know what was going on and what had happened with our father.”

King’s physician, Dr. Darin Brimhall, and the coroner had attributed his death to natural causes — a series of small strokes caused by atherosclerotic vascular disease as a consequence of his long battle with blood sugar fluctuations and diabetes. The medical term was multi-infarct dementia.

Fudenberg said Monday the autopsy found additional evidence of cerebrovascular disease and mini-strokes similar to those described earlier. “Considering the information available to any clinical physician at the time, multi-infarct dementia was a reasonable conclusion to reach,” he said

Tests didn’t detect any substances that might have hastened King’s death, Fudenberg said.

The autopsy was conducted May 24 — 10 days after King died, two days after a public viewing in Las Vegas drew more than 1,000 fans and mourner, and one day after a family-and-friends memorial drew 350 people to a downtown Las Vegas funeral chapel.

A Beale Street procession and memorial took place May 27 in Memphis, Tennessee, followed by burial May 30 in King’s hometown of Indianola, Mississippi.

Bryson told a probate judge in Las Vegas last month that Brimhall and two other doctors determined that King received appropriate medical and hospice care, and that Toney was fulfilling King’s will and wishes.

Toney worked for King for 39 years and had power-of-attorney over his business affairs. She is named in King’s will, filed in January 2007, as executor.

The value of the estate that hasn’t been publicly disclosed.

Bryson has said it wasn’t expected to amount to the tens of millions of dollars suggested during a guardianship fight before King’s death.

Drohobyczer has said she thinks the estate is worth between $5 million and $10 million.

___

This story corrects that Toney is named in will as executor, not beneficiary; adds comment from Rita Washington; and refers to efforts to reach other lawyers and family members.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Arts and Culture

Third Annual Town Up Tuesday Lifts Oakland’s Community, Culture and Joy

Urban Peace Movement announced Town Up Tuesday, a free community music and social awareness festival dedicated to the people of Oakland to celebrate Bay Area culture and create safety by fostering connection and belonging. It will be on Tuesday, May 21, at Edoff Memorial Bandstand at Lake Merritt from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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The event will feature local Bay Area legends and rising stars home-grown talent that will include 10 performers: 1100 Himself, The Conscious Daughters, Michael Sneed, Trunk Boiz, 3LISE, The Animaniakz and Ms. Bria. Too $hort is a special guest and there will also be a surprise legendary Oakland artist. The two DJs are Emelle & Dahge, and the two hosts are Dnas and Mystic.
The event will feature local Bay Area legends and rising stars home-grown talent that will include 10 performers: 1100 Himself, The Conscious Daughters, Michael Sneed, Trunk Boiz, 3LISE, The Animaniakz and Ms. Bria. Too $hort is a special guest and there will also be a surprise legendary Oakland artist. The two DJs are Emelle & Dahge, and the two hosts are Dnas and Mystic.

By Kyung Jin Lee

Urban Peace Movement announced Town Up Tuesday, a free community music and social awareness festival dedicated to the people of Oakland to celebrate Bay Area culture and create safety by fostering connection and belonging.

It will be on Tuesday, May 21, at Edoff Memorial Bandstand at Lake Merritt from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The event will feature local Bay Area legends and rising stars home-grown talent that will include 10 performers: 1100 Himself, The Conscious Daughters, Michael Sneed, Trunk Boiz, 3LISE, The Animaniakz and Ms. Bria.

Too $hort is a special guest and there will also be a surprise legendary Oakland artist. The two DJs are Emelle & Dahge, and the two hosts are Dnas and Mystic.

Past performers have included: Kamaiyah, Yukmouth, Stunnaman02, Symba, Lil Kayla, Grand Nationxl, Jane Handcock, and D Smoke, among others.

“Oakland is a historically Black city and one of the most diverse and progressive in the country — a city rich with culture,” said Nicole Lee, executive director of the Urban Peace Movement.

“At a time when we are being scapegoated for political gain and negative narratives of Oakland permeate the press, we’re uplifting who we truly are and all the things that make this region so special.”

About Urban Peace Movement: Urban Peace Movement (UPM) is a racial justice organization working to end mass incarceration and the criminalization of Black and Brown communities in Oakland. https://urbanpeacemovement.org/ @urbanpeace510

Kyung Jin Lee is the media representative for the Urban Peace Movement.

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Oakland Post: Week of May 15 – 21, 2024

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of May May 15 – 21, 2024

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