It was 1:30 p.m. in Memphis (Tennessee, USA) when the girlfriend of the king of rock, Ginger Alden, on this day in 1977, found her beloved face down, lying on the floor and with his pants down in the luxurious bathroom next to the double room.
From Graceland, Elvis’ home for decades and where his remains rest today, the singer and actor was transferred to Baptist Memorial Hospital. However, the doctors could do nothing to save his life. Two hours later it became official: Elvis Presley died at 42 years old.
44 years have already passed since the death of the creator of the rockabilly And even so, the causes of his death remain a mystery. An autopsy that forensic doctors have been debating for years means that today the causes of his fatal fate continue to be discussed.
Drug use, the initial suspicion behind his death
The autopsy performed on the interpreter of Jailhouse Rock O Pound Dog it left the only unanimous conclusion regarding his death: Presley’s heart had suddenly stopped beating. What was not so clear and ended up reopening the debate around the artist’s death was whether the heart attack he had suffered could be justified by the singer’s lifestyle.
Thus, the main hypothesis attributed to the artist’s fading and subsequent death was during the first decades your excessive use of medications. Elvis completely rejected drugs, unless they were prescribed. During the 1950s he began to become fond of them, specifically amphetamines, during his military service in Germany; as well as pills to treat her insomnia. However, although since then his addiction was in crescendoIn the late 1960s, his dependence became as high as his fame.
Already plunged into a spiral of drugs and depression, in 1967 his wife Priscilla Presley – whom he had met during his stay in Germany – decided to end the relationship. Priscilla could no longer bear the continuous infidelities of her youthful love, which was joined by her infatuation with another man: Mike Stone, the singer’s karate teacher.
This decision profoundly marked the life of the singer, who just this year found his perfect ally on his way to get all the medicines he wanted: George Nichopoulos. Better known as ‘doctor Nick’, he prescribed uncontrollably during their professional relationship (which led to a great friendship) all kinds of medication. During the last months of Elvis’s life, more than 12,000 drugs were prescribed by Nichopoulos, who met the demands of his most famous patient.
The compulsive use of amphetamines, sedatives and painkillers by the king of rock and in huge quantities led him to a deepening depression; who also did not help to improve her intake of junk food that led her to weigh up to 130 kg at the time of her death.
The night before his death, Elvis took three times a combination of sleeping pills, barbiturates and placebos prescribed by Dr. Nick. The samples analyzed during the interpreter’s autopsy left no room for doubt: Presley had up to 14 types of medications in his blood.
Elvis’ genetic diseases, his best kept secret
Although this theory had been widely supported, during the trial against Nichopoulos in 1981 new possibilities were opened related to the death of the rock singer. Reviewing the autopsy, it was concluded that Elvis suffered from an autoimmune inflammatory disorder, which some of the doctors involved considered as the reason for his death.
If it had been a drug overdose, I would have fallen into a state of increasing sleep
Joseph Davis, forense
The dichotomy of opinions about the death caused by drugs or by the ailments suffered in silence by the artist extended until 1994, when the state of Tennessee decided to reopen his autopsy. The words of coroner Joseph Davis, collected by Esquire, ruled out an overdose as the cause of death:
“The position of Elvis Presley’s body was such that he was about to sit on the toilet when the attack occurred. He launched himself onto the carpet, his back in the air, and was dead when he hit the floor. If it had been a drug overdose, (Elvis Presley) would have fallen into a state of increasing sleep. He would have pulled up his pajama bottoms and crawled to the door to get help. It takes hours to die from drugs.
The same view had been shared in 1977 by Coroner Jerry Francisco, who commissioned a private autopsy: “Elvis Presley died of heart disease, and the prescription drugs found in his blood were not a contributing factor. I would have died even if the medication had not been present», Declared to American Medical News in the late 60s.
This hypothesis has gained strength in the middle of 2021 with the publication of Elvis: Destined to Die Young (Elvis: Destined to Die Young in Spanish). In this new book by Sally Hoedell, the writer points out that the singer’s drug addiction with the most well-known hip movement in history was due to serious genetic diseases he suffered from.
The author and historian explains in her book that the origin of these ailments could be found in her maternal family. His grandparents, before getting married, already had a bond: they were cousins. The result of their marriage resulted in four children – including Elvis’ own mother – who, like the singer, developed pathologies that led to their deaths at an early age.
Among Presley’s ailments, one that caused the greatest complications in his day-to-day life was the lack of the alpha-1 antitrypsin protein. The effects caused by this disease are weak lungs and liver, colon problems, immune deficiency or insomnia.
This could be related to another of the theories about his death that circulated during 2010, when Dr. Nick – who died in 2016 – published his book The King and Doctor Nick. During the presentation of the publication on Fox News, Nichopoulos revealed that the artist from Mississippi suffered from intestinal paralysis, an inherited disease that caused severe constipation for the singer. In the interview, the doctor blamed Elvis’s death on his constipation, who refused to undergo surgery to treat it.
“(Elvis) had several health problems, but he hid them so well that all we remember today is his excessive use of medication,” commented the writer in statements to The Guardian. According to Hoedell, this medication was the only thing that made Elvis’s life a little more bearable.
Today hundreds of fans will come to the vicinity of Graceland to pay tribute to the one who was during the 50s and 60s a mass idol. Since that day in 1977, every August 16 is remembered the man whose death – whatever their causes – marked the beginning of the myth of the king of rock.
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44 years of an unsolved death