Much has been said and written over the years about the figure of Elvis Presley. And a consensus has not always been reached about what really happened to the legendary singer on August 16, 1977, the date on which the news of his death broke giving rise to an abundance of speculation and rumor that even today carry some validity, something Esquire has been tapping back into as a new film on his life is released.
Presley is considered the first idol of the masses and the forerunner of the birth of the fan phenomenon whose origin is attributed to the emergence of The Beatles on the international scene. For this reason, what happened at Graceland, his iconic mansion, has caused rivers of ink to flow about how he died and the causes of his premature death at the age of 42.
But if one digs a little into his biography, one can conclude that nothing that happened was accidental and that The King was predestined to die young. Ginger Alden, his girlfriend at the time, found him dead, face down, on the bathroom floor of the main bedroom and the extensive autopsy- carried out by ten doctors - concluded that the singer had died as a result of a heart attack.
His cardiovascular health was, at best, precarious, the study revealed, and the doctors also found that the musician suffered from diabetes and an auto-immune inflammatory disorder. However, the blood, urine and tissue samples taken from Elvis at the autopsy and sent for analysis also pointed to the presence of ten different substances in his system, among which several types of opiates.
And that’s where the ball started to grow with his doctor, George Nichopoulos, formally accused of murder. He ended up, however, being found not guilty because, among other things, there was only evidence that ‘Dr. Nick’ - as he was known - had only been responsible for the prescription of two of the ten substances revealed in the toxicological analysis. That said, he was unable to prevent the Tennessee medical board from revoking his license for malpractice.
This back story, though, means the death of Elvis Presley has always been debated, whether it was simply heart failure or a drug overdose. Or maybe a drug-induced heart failure. Or even as a consequence of an auto-immune reaction caused by a head injury. What seems clear is that Elvis was not murdered nor did he commit suicide.
As it stands, the most widespread theory is that the singer suffered a heart attack in which, in addition to his already delicate cardiovascular health, the abuse of codeine, among other opiates, played a fundamental role. But it is still not possible to answer another question, one that is far from trivial: where did he get all the medications he took if his personal doctor only prescribed two?