By EW Staff
May 15, 2015 at 02:12 PM EDT
Larry Marano/Getty Images

Legendary blues musician B.B. King died in his Las Vegas home Thursday night at the age of 89. Now ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons—who inducted King into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—has provided a statement about King’s passing:

It’s difficult to fathom a world without B.B. King.  He’s been with me literally since the dawn of my musical consciousness.  I first encountered him when I was a small child. My father was a musician would take me around to studios in Houston.  We met B.B. King at ACA Studios when I was, maybe, seven.  He made a huge impression on me and that encounter continues to resonate. Over the ensuing years we were privileged to spend time in his presence on numerous occasions.  He was warm hearted, generous and giving.  B.B. King was an early and continuing hero.  His passing is very sad but we take solace in the fact that we still hold him in absolutely the highest regard as both a transcendentally talented musician and a truly wonderful human being whose spirt will always be with us.

Gibbons also wrote a tribute to King’s guitar playing for Rolling Stone‘s list of best guitarists.