AUTOPSIES OF STARS. Elvis Presley, the not so well hidden secret of the king of rock’n’roll who died on his throne

The death of Elvis Presley, legend of rock’n’roll, dates back to August 16, 1977. Yet years later, questions are still numerous as to the real cause of the tragedy.

Like many stars, Elvis Presley died young, well before the age he could have reached with a natural death. August 16, 1977 is his fiancée Ginger Alden who found him unconscious on the bathroom floor of their parental suite – in the same place where, a few months earlier, Elvis had proposed to her in marriage. According to her description in her autobiographical book, “Ginger and Elvis: Elvis Presley’s fiancee and last love finally tells her story“, the young woman had found him in a very special position. “His body looked entirely petrified in a seated position, as if he had sat on the toilet, and fallen forward in that same position.“. Despite attempts by doctors to resuscitate him after he arrived at the hospital, Elvis Presley was pronounced dead at 3:30 p.m. on August 16, 1977. He was 42 years old.

An early addiction

The official cause of Elvis’ death that came out even though the autopsy wasn’t even quite finished yet is that the singer died of a heart attack. Although his addiction to various medications and drugs was notorious, it was not until some time after his death that it became truly public and a link was established between this addiction and his death. The family of the king of rock’n’roll has indeed long tried to conceal this consumption, even going so far as to pressure a medical examiner to confirm that Elvis did not die of an overdose. The general state of health of Elvis, who had unhealthy lifestyle, was overweight and suffered from diabetes, moreover made it quite easy for his family to justify a heart attack. But despite the efforts of those close to him, rumors were already rife when Elvis Presley was still alive.

A few weeks before his death, three of his bodyguards published a book in which they revealed that the singer was amphetamine addict, and has been since he was in his twenties. Suffering from insomnia, Elvis turned to a combination of antidepressants and drugs to achieve sleep. A consumption that worsened with his fame, which pushed him to take substances for a completely different reason: to energize before going on stage during his concerts. Between his need to be in shape for his concerts and his desire to overcome his insomnia and be able to sleep, the singer has therefore, for many years, multiplied the taking of medication. But that was nothing compared to his last years…

A controversial autopsy

Between 1967 and 1977, Elvis Presley had a doctor who was widely talked about for his possible involvement in the death of the rock’n’roll legend. Dr. George Nichopoulos has indeed been implicated for having prescribed, in an arbitrary and possibly dangerous manner, numerous controlled substances to his patient, Elvis Presley. The charges against him reveal that in the 20 months leading up to his death, Elvis was prescribed no less than 12,000 pills, and traveled with three suitcases full of drugs. To justify this aberration, Dr. Nichopoulos had explained that the drugs were prescribed to everyone around Elvis. He also defended himself by pointing out that he granted everything Elvis asked of him since, otherwise, the singer would have obtained them by going to see another doctor, or would have simply gone to look for them in the street.

Following these charges, Dr. Nichopoulos’ license and right to practice were suspended for 3 months by Tennessee. He was later acquitted and practiced until 1995 when his medical license was permanently revoked.

The other personality often singled out in the death of Elvis Presley is medical examiner Jerry Francisco, who took the decision to announce to the press that the singer did not die from drugs while his autopsy was not yet complete. “Elvis Presley died of heart disease, and prescribed drugs found in his blood did not help. Even if those drugs hadn’t been in his system, he’d still be dead.“. A statement criticized by his peers who accused him of prioritizing family privacy over telling the truth. Most agreed that Elvis died because of a cocktail of drugs, analyzes to support it.

A toxicology analysis of Elvis Presley’s blood after his death has confirmed a high presence of opioids in his system, such as Dilaudid, Percodan or Demerol, as well as a dozen other substances. The cardiac arrest suffered by the singer could therefore, in all probability, have been caused by the very dangerous cocktail that he consumed regularly, but that is not all.

An Inglorious Death

One of the most well-known theories regarding the death of Elvis Presley has enough to undermine all the glory that comes with his name. The abuse of barbiturates has a notorious side effect: that of causing severe constipation. And since it was in a sitting position, as if petrified after sitting on the toilet that Elvis was found, some believe that he died trying to defecate. According to this theory, it was by putting too much pressure on a heart weakened by drugs, medications and illnesses from which he suffered that the king of rock’n’roll would have caused his own death.