Elvis Presley stars in trailer for 1956 film Love Me Tender
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Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977 aged just 42-years-old. The star was discovered in an unresponsive state on the bathroom floor of his home, Graceland, by his fiancée Ginger Alden. The star was later pronounced dead the following day at 3:30pm following attempts to revive him. The star’s death was rumoured to have been caused by a number of things, including a bad diet and overuse of illegal drugs. Vernon Presley, the star’s father, disputes these rumours completely.
The year after Elvis’ death Vernon wrote a lengthy article for Good Housekeeping magazine about his late son.
Within this article, Vernon addressed the notion that Elvis was on drugs throughout the last few years of his life.
He wrote: “During the final years of [Elvis’] life, he heard rumours that he was on cocaine.
“Elvis did take medication of several kinds, but it was all prescribed. For a while, he took diet pills, but he gave them up three years ago because he was afraid of them.”
The 1978 article from Vernon continued by discussing how Elvis was attempting to change for his health.
He continued: “After that, when he wanted to lose weight, he did it by cutting down on his food or by giving it up entirely. In fact, he’d fasted for the final 24 hours of his life.
“He did take sleeping pills because he felt that he needed eight to ten hours of sleep to perform well.”
He added: “Not too long before he died, he had a very complete physical examination.”
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Going on to reveal the results of the physical exam, Vernon wrote: “The doctors discovered that he had some liver damage, a colon problem and high blood pressure. That worried me more than the rest.
“Elvis took prescribed medicine for his blood pressure and may have taken an occasional painkiller.”
Vernon revealed Elvis was a “night person”, and would often go days without stepping outside of his home Graceland.
He continued: “I used to talk to him about that, and urge him to get more sun. Then he’d make it a point to sit by the pool some. But he preferred to stay awake until late at night and get his sleep by day.”
Vernon went on once again about how Elvis did not like drugs and would have never done them.
He reiterated: “I’m sure he didn’t take illegal, hard drugs for several reasons.
“In the first place, he’d seen what drugs had done to people he’d known and he didn’t want to wind up like that.
“Further, for his daughter Lisa’s sake, he wouldn’t have taken such drugs.”
When the autopsy of Elvis’ body was reopened in 1994 by coroner Joseph Davis, he seemed to corroborate Vernon’s claims.
He said: “The position of Elvis Presley’s body was such that he was about to sit down on the commode when the seizure occurred. He pitched forward onto the carpet, his rear in the air, and was dead by the time he hit the floor.
“If it had been a drug overdose, [Elvis] would have slipped into an increasing state of slumber. He would have pulled up his pajama bottoms and crawled to the door to seek help. It takes hours to die from drugs.”
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