B.B. King reportedly suffered a series of mini strokes in the months leading up to his death. King’s personal physician, Dr. Darin Brimhall, confirmed the strokes were attributed to the musicians long-term battle with type 2 diabetes.
A stroke is defined as an interruption in the brain’s blood supply. As a result, patients suffer brain cell damage — which is often irreversible.
Yahoo! reports the damage caused by King’s mini strokes triggered another serious condition, called multi-infarct dementia.
As discussed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, multi-infarct dementia is a form of vascular dementia that affects “more than one area in the brain.”
The severity of multi-infarct dementia is dependent on the number of strokes and the size of the area affected. Although symptoms vary, patients commonly experience depression, memory loss, and hallucinations.
Brimhall confirmed B.B. King suffered a series of mini strokes. However, he did not reveal exactly when they occurred or how long the musician suffered with dementia.
Throughout the last six months, B.B.King’s daughter, Karen Williams, argued that her father was a victim of elder abuse and neglect.
As reported by SF Gate, Williams eventually petitioned the Clark County Family Court for control over King’s financial and medical concerns.
As stated in the petition, Williams accused her father’s manager, Laverne Toney, of neglecting his medical needs. She further accused Toney of taking advantage of King’s weakened state and embezzling an estimated $1 million.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) May 16, 2015
Late last week, Clark County Family Court Hearing Master Jon Norheim denied Williams’ petition.
“There is no evidence of need for guardianship… Mr. King has counsel. I don’t have anything here that says he lacks capacity. He has some serious health issues. But… if he feels like he’s being taken advantage of, he has remedies.”
One week later, Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg confirmed the King of Blues had multi-infarct dementia, and the condition ultimately caused his death.
Fudenberg’s findings raise serious questions about B.B. King’s mental state in the months and weeks preceding his death. Karen Williams said Laverne Toney refused to let anyone see her father before he died.
As reported by TMZ, she is devastated that she and her sisters never had a chance to say goodbye.
— WBBM Newsradio (@WBBMNewsradio) May 16, 2015
Miami Herald reports Toney even turned away King’s closest friends, including famed blues guitarist Buddy Guy.
“I knew he wasn’t doing well, and I wanted to go see him and I was refused to see him by some lady who’s got control of him or something like that, and that hurt very bad… And then I found out she wouldn’t let nobody see him.”
In addition to Karen Williams, King is survived by 13 children and more than 50 grandchildren. The iconic musician will always be remembered as the one and only King of the Blues.
B.B. King’s family has not commented about the series of mini strokes, or the subsequent dementia. However, they have requested privacy while they mourn.
[Image via Larry Busacca/Getty Images]