Two of B.B. King’s daughters, Karen Williams and Patty King, are alleging that two of the late musician’s closest aides hastened his death by poisoning him, according to a report Monday from The Associated Press, while his King’s attorney dismissed the claims.
The heirs reportedly say that family was kept away from King in his final days while personal assistant Myron Johnson and business manager LaVerne Toney administered poison to him.
“I believe my father was poisoned and that he was administered foreign substances,” say affidavits from both daughters, obtained by The AP from the daughters’ lawyer Larissa Drohobyczer.
But attorney Brent Bryson told the wire service that King was appropriately cared-for, and he received 24-hour care and monitoring by medical professionals “up until the time that he peacefully passed away in his sleep.”
The Clark County coroner’s office has taken jurisdiction over B.B. King’s body while the claims are investigated, Clark County officials said in a statement Monday.
John Fudenberg, the newly appointed coroner, in the statement said that “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.”
The investigation in collaboration with the Las Vegas police homicide unit is expected to take six to eight weeks, the coroner’s office said.
An autopsy on King, whose formal name is Riley B. King, took place Sunday and the body was returned to the mortuary the same day, the coroner’s office said.
“The investigation will not delay the funeral services from being held,” Fudenberg said in the statement.
Johnson declined comment to The AP, but Toney also denied the claims.
“They’ve been making allegations all along. What’s new?” Toney, who worked for King for 39 years, told The Associated Press.
King, whose expressive style brought blues from the fringe to the mainstream, was eulogized Saturday as a musical icon and loving patriarch during a memorial service in Las Vegas.
Guitarists Carlos Santana and Richie Sambora were among the family, friends and fans paying their respects in a sanctuary at Palm Mortuary Downtown packed with several hundred people.
Memorials for the late singer are scheduled later this week in Memphis, Tenn., and Indianola, Miss.
Review-Journal writer Ricky Torres contributed to this report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and 702-383-0381. Find him on Twitter: @rickytwrites