B.B. King started singing gospel songs on a Mississippi street corner as a teen and grew into the world's unrivaled ambassador of the blues. His indelible style defined the genre, and in addition to scores of Grammys and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, Eric Clapton has called him "the most important artist the blues has ever produced." King died on Thursday, May 14th, after a decades-long battle with diabetes. Remember his career's pivotal moments in photos, then check out his five greatest live performances, our full obituary and our definitive 1998 profile, On the Bus With B.B. King.