- Associated Press - Friday, May 15, 2015

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Some Mississippi reaction to the death of blues legend B.B. King, who was born and raised in the state and maintained close ties to it:

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“He never forgot his family. It didn’t matter where he was. If he saw one of us, he recognized us.” - former Leflore County schools superintendent Cedell Pulley, a first cousin who grew up with King

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“He was a gentle guy. He was a jokester and a fun guy to tell stories.” - Alphonso Sanders, director of the B.B. King recording studio at Mississippi Valley State University

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“He welcomed you like he’s your granddad or your granddad’s friend.” - April Brock, education coordinator at the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center, who met the blues legend several times when he played at the B.B. King Homecoming festival in Indianola

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“I was always struck by his guitar tone. … He really connected with the audience directly in terms of talking, but also just musically and eye contact. He was real - a consummate showman and performer.” - Greg Johnson, blues archive curator at the University of Mississippi

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“B.B. King, born and raised in Indianola, Mississippi, is one of the giants of American music and it is with great sadness that I give my most heartfelt condolences to his family, extended musical family and countless friends. … He was a source of pride for the Mississippi Delta and its greatest ambassador across the world. From ‘The Thrill is Gone’ to ‘Stormy Monday,’ his songs resonated with everyone who heard them. I will, indeed, miss this great icon but I am confident that his legacy of excellence and his music will live on forever.” - U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.

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“As an ambassador to the world for the blues and Mississippi’s rich musical tradition, his talent and personality inspired many and drew people to the Mississippi Delta. Today, our state proudly welcomes visitors to the Mississippi Blues Trail to experience where B.B. and other talented blues musicians have their roots. I am saddened that he is gone, but know that B.B. King’s voice and his influence will continue through his music and good works.” - U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

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“B.B. King’s legacy is at the heart of Mississippi’s rich musical tradition. The ‘King of the Blues’ brought the sounds of the Delta to the world for more than 70 years, showcasing an incredible devotion to his craft and extraordinary passion for performing. He never forgot his hometown of Indianola, and we will not soon forget him. We say goodbye to a true legend and pioneer but find solace in the fact that his talent will live on, inspiring musicians for generations to come.” - U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

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“Mississippi is known the world over as the birthplace of America’s music, and BB King is one of its founding legends and one of our state’s most treasured gifts to the music world. For decades, our souls have been stirred by his talents. From juke joints to concert halls, there is no place his influence hasn’t reached. Mississippi has lost a legend. He is the king. The thrill is gone.” - Gov. Phil Bryant

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