MIAMI (AFP) - Guitarist and songwriter Bo Diddley, who died of heart failure Monday at age 79, was an innovative R and B pioneer who forged rock and roll's signature beat but rarely got the credit - or the riches - heaped on his fellow musical icons. He died at his home in Archer, Florida where he had been convalescing since last year after suffering a stroke and later heart attack.  A contemporary of early rock icons Chuck Berry and Little Richard, Diddley earned a reputation as a legendary performer and "The Originator" of rock and roll after he created a raw and grinding rhumba-style beat that became known as "Shave and a haircut, two bits." The syncopated groove turned early rock music on its head and spawned countless imitators, including a young Elvis Presley. In mourning Diddley's passing, another American guitar legend, B B King, praised him as a music pioneer and legend with a unique style. "We always had a good time when we played together. He will truly be missed, but his legacy will live on forever," King, 82, said through his publicist. Diddley's improvisational on-stage chatter and word play in his songs - sometimes childish - prefigured hip-hop by several decades. His signature dark glasses, black hat and homemade rectangular guitars became icons in the music industry after he topped the rhythm and blues charts in 1955 with "Bo Diddley," the first of several hit singles to include his own name in the title. Some of his all-time hits include "Who Do You Love," "Before You Accuse Me," "Mona," "Road Runner" and "I'm a Man."