“Elvis Presley is the greatest social force in the 20th century,” the well known composer and also conductor Leonard Bernstein told a reporter indigenous TIME in the so late 1960s. When the reporter prodded, skeptical, about the cultural influence of various other legendary artists prefer Picasso, Bernstein simply reiterated, "No, it’s Elvis."

More 보다 40 year"s after the top performer"s death—with 108 Billboard warm 100 hits, 129 charted albums, and 67 collective weeks in ~ the top of the charts ~ above his record—it"s a sentiment that remains hard to argue with. Here, we"re taking a look in ~ the tragic situations that significant an untimely end for the music icon.

When did Elvis die?

Born in Tupelo, Mississippi ~ above January 8, 1935, Elvis Aron Presley would end up being one of the many recognizable musician in the world by the moment he passed away in his Memphis mansion, Graceland, on august 16, 1977, in ~ the period of 42.

That afternoon the singer was uncovered by his girlfriend, Ginger Alden, lied unconscious on the floor the the master suite bathroom. Elvis was easily taken by ambulance to the Baptist Memorial Hospital and, after ~ attempts come revive that failed, was pronounced dead at 3:30 pm.

What caused his death?

Though Elvis"s actual reason of death shows up to have been heart failure, the cardiac event is now thought about to it is in a an outcome of the absent star"s longstanding and also serious medicine abuse.

Like plenty of performers at the time, Elvis to be a hefty user of a number of prescription medications including opiates, barbiturates, and sedatives. As soon as the toxicology report of the performer"s blood came ago from analysis several weeks after his death, that reportedly included high dosage of, among other things, the opiates Dilaudid, Percodan, and Demerol, and also Quaaludes and codeine.

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In the years adhering to his death, Elvis" Memphis physician, Dr. George Nichopoulos aka "Dr. Nick" was implicated in the singer"s death. In 1980, Nichopoulos, who began treating the star in 1967, had his clinical license rely by the state that Tennessee for three months because that indiscriminately prescribing and also dispensing controlled substances. According to the charges, in the last 20 months of Elvis"s life, the star was prescribed over 12,000 pills and also other pharmaceuticals and carried three suitcases the the drugs with him once he traveled (Nichopoulos suggested that these drugs were for the use of Elvis"s entire entourage, as an explanation because that the volume).

Nichopoulos later on testified that he gave Elvis any type of medications the requested since if he didn"t the star would simply get them from an additional prescriber, or probably turn to street drugs.

In November that 1981, Nichopoulos to be charged through 11 felony counts that overprescribing drugs, but was acquitted. He kept his medical license until 1995 when it was permanently suspended by the Tennessee board of medical Examiners.


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Why is over there controversy around Elvis"s death?

While Elvis"s drug usage (a properties he shared with many famous performers that the era including Johnny Cash and fellow Dr. Nichopoulos patience Jerry Lee Lewis) is usual knowledge today, at the moment of his death, Elvis, his family, and his team had largely regulated to store the an ext sordid details the his life private.

Immediately adhering to the singer"s passing, his family members requested a personal autopsy to determine the cause of death. Tennessee’s Chief medical Examiner Jerry Francisco released the star"s official death certificate a couple of days later, listing the reason as a coronary problem unrelated come drugs. “Elvis Presley passed away of love disease, and prescription drugs uncovered in his blood were no a contributing factor,” Francisco said American clinical News in ~ the time. “Had this drugs no been there, he still would have actually died.”


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Several the the other pathologists connected in the autopsy would certainly go top top to criticize Francisco"s techniques (he was supposedly favoring the family"s privacy v his announcement) and also conclusion. Multiple doctors connected reportedly suggested that the musician"s reason of fatality should have actually been attributed come a toxic combination of pharmaceuticals.

With the autopsy inquiry coming directly from the family members rather 보다 at the state"s behest, the complete findings to be sealed ~ the procedure. Multiple attempts to be made over the years to gain the documents unsealed, through a 1993 reopening the the investigation right into Elvis"s death getting the physician"s notes, but not the autopsy itself, released.


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Coincidentally Ballantine publications published a tell-all book, Elvis: What Happened? through Steve Dunleavy, consisting of stories from 3 of Elvis"s previous body guards, simply over 2 weeks before the star"s death. The publication debuted with little fanfare and only became well-known once journalists and also the public began denigrating Dunleavy, a former tabloid reporter, over his allegations around Elvis"s medicine use and carousing.

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It wasn"t until virtually two years after Elvis"s fatality that the possibility of drug connection began to be seriously reported.


Lauren HubbardWriterLauren ha is a freelance writer and also Town & country contributor that covers beauty, shopping, entertainment, travel, house decor, wine, and also cocktails.
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