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Last Updated: Friday, 8 December 2006, 11:21 GMT
Blues legend King to get US medal
BB King
BB King has had a musical career for nearly 60 years
Blues legend BB King is to be awarded America's highest civilian honour by President George W Bush.

The musician will be presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a White House ceremony on 15 December.

King, 81, said: "It's been a long journey, but I've enjoyed every minute of it, bringing the blues to so many enthusiastic audiences."

"For more than half a century, the King of the Blues and his guitar Lucille have thrilled audiences," said Mr Bush.

The president added King had "influenced generations of guitarists" and "helped give the blues its special place in the American musical tradition".

The Grammy-winner launched his professional career in 1947.

In July he performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland for the last time, having played there for more than 20 years.

John Buck O'Neil, the grandson of a slave who became Major League Baseball's first black coach and British historian and journalist Paul Johnson will also receive the same honour.

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05 Jul 06 |  Entertainment
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27 Oct 05 |  Entertainment
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