Las Vegas police will investigate the May 14 death of B.B. King as a possible homicide after two of the blues guitar legend’s daughters accused his personal assistants of poisoning him.
The 89-year-old died in Las Vegas while under hospice care, and daughters Karen Williams and Patty King now say he was given “foreign substances to induce his premature death” by his business manager Laverne Toney, according to documents submitted by their attorney Larissa Drohobyczer.
The two women also added that “King was sequestered from all family members” prior to his death, and that Toney and personal assistant M. Johnson were the only people allowed to see him.
Toney said of the daughters’ claims, “They’ve been making allegations all along. What’s new?” she told the Associated Press.
Johnson is also accused by the daughters of administering poison to King, but has not responded to the allegations.
The Las Vegas Review Journal reports attorney Brent Bryson told the Associated Press King was appropriately cared-for, and he received 24-hour care and monitoring by professionals “up until the time that he peacefully passed away in his sleep.”
Newly appointed coroner John Fudenberg said Monday, “at this point, we don’t have evidence that these allegations of foul play will be substantiated. However, we are taking them very seriously and will be conducting a thorough investigation.”
B.B. King’s body will remain in the custody of the Clark County coroner’s office while the claims are investigated, officials said Monday. The investigation could take 6-8 weeks.
“Our coroner takes jurisdctn over #BBKing body, performs autopsy. Results:6-8wks min. Homicide investgtn w/ @LVMPD,” the Clark County coroner’s office wrote on Twittter.
A police spokesman told NBC that an investigation will not be opened “until such time as the Clark County Coroner determines Mr. King’s death to be from other than natural causes.”
Daughter Rita Washington joined King and Williams earlier this year in court, where the three women accused Toney of neglecting their father, but the case was dismissed because of a lack of evidence, according to BBC News.
King had a total of 15 children, 11 of which are living. His funeral will be held on Friday in Mississippi, despite a probe concerning the cause of death.
The 15-time Grammy winner suffered from Type 2 diabetes, and is believed to have died after having a stroke.