B.B. King's 11 children battling over his estate

B.B. King
B.B. King (Image credit: Getty)

B.B King’s 11 children are waging war over the singer’s multi-million dollar estate.

The blues icon died last year aged 89.

His passing sparked allegations from his daughters, Karen Williams, Patty King and Rita Washington, that his manager LaVerne Toney and assistant Myron Johnson had poisoned him. The claims were investigated by police, who reached the conclusion that no foul play had been involved in King’s death.

Johnson – the half-brother of Williams, but not the son of King – then launched legal action against the sisters, laying seven charges including defamation, slander, libel and conspiracy.

The bluesman’s eldest daughter Shirley King tells The Hollywood Reporter: “LaVerne and Myron are controlling everything. They’re fighting some of the kids with my dad’s money – how stupid is that?”

Her half-sister Barbara adds: “The poisoning thing? Yeah, that was a rough time, there was a lot of hurt, but that situation will be cleared up in the end. We all support and love each other.”

In a legal wrangle that began weeks after he died, the 11 surviving children continue to battle with King’s appointed trustee, longtime business manager Toney, to reinstate a previous estate plan written in 2007 which promised them more money.

The 2014 will currently offers a one-off payment to each of the heirs and full-time education expenses for his lineage – but they insist this version shouldn’t be recognised in court, as it was finalised when their father was blind and suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

The children also claim King’s fortune is estimated between $30-40 million when royalties, assets and sales and rights are taken into account – but legal documents in the trustee’s possession apparently show the sum is much smaller at £5m.

Toney’s lawyer Eric Brent Bryson says: “The children and grandchildren are angry because King chose not to leave them a bunch of money. He gave them a lot of money over the years and wanted whatever he had left to go to having his great-grandchildren educated.

“His fortune is not anywhere close to what some of the relatives are asserting.”

Former TeamRock news desk member Christina joined our team in late 2015, and although her time working on online rock news was fairly brief, she made a huge impact by contributing close to 1500 stories. Christina also interviewed artists including Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and worked at the Download festival. In late 2016, Christina left rock journalism to pursue a career in current affairs. In 2021, she was named Local Weekly Feature Writer of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards.