“Elvis Presley is the greatest cultural force in the 20th century,” the well known composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein called a reporter indigenous TIME in the late 1960s. As soon as the reporter prodded, skeptical, around the cultural influence of various other legendary artists favor Picasso, Bernstein simply reiterated, "No, it’s Elvis."

More than 40 year"s ~ the top performer"s death—with 108 Billboard hot 100 hits, 129 charted albums, and also 67 collective weeks at the height of the charts top top his record—it"s a emotion that remains tough to argue with. Here, we"re taking a look in ~ the tragic situations that significant an untimely end for the music icon.

When walk Elvis die?

Born in Tupelo, Mississippi ~ above January 8, 1935, Elvis Aron Presley would come to be one the the many recognizable musicians in the civilization by the time he passed away in his Memphis mansion, Graceland, on august 16, 1977, in ~ the age of 42.

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

What brought about his death?

Though Elvis"s actual reason of death appears to have actually been love failure, the cardiac incident is now taken into consideration to it is in a result of the rock star"s longstanding and also serious drug abuse.

Like plenty of performers in ~ the time, Elvis to be a heavy user the a number of prescription medications consisting of opiates, barbiturates, and sedatives. Once the toxicology report of the performer"s blood came back from evaluation several weeks ~ his death, the reportedly consisted of high dosages of, among other things, the opiates Dilaudid, Percodan, and Demerol, and Quaaludes and codeine.

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In the years adhering to his death, Elvis" Memphis physician, Dr. George Nichopoulos aka "Dr. Nick" to be implicated in the singer"s death. In 1980, Nichopoulos, who began treating the star in 1967, had actually his clinical license exposed by the state that Tennessee for 3 months for indiscriminately prescribing and dispensing regulated substances. According to the charges, in the critical 20 months of Elvis"s life, the star was prescribed end 12,000 pills and also other pharmaceuticals and also carried 3 suitcases that the drugs v him when he traveled (Nichopoulos suggested that these drugs were for the use of Elvis"s entire entourage, together an explanation for the volume).

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

In November that 1981, Nichopoulos was charged with 11 felony counts the overprescribing drugs, however was acquitted. He kept his medical license till 1995 as soon as it was permanently exposed by the Tennessee plank of clinical Examiners.


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Why is there controversy roughly Elvis"s death?

While Elvis"s drug use (a trait he shared with plenty of famous performers that the era consisting of Johnny Cash and also fellow Dr. Nichopoulos patience Jerry Lee Lewis) is typical knowledge today, at the moment of his death, Elvis, his family, and also his team had largely managed to store the much more sordid details that his life private.

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


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

With the autopsy inquiry coming straight from the household rather 보다 at the state"s behest, the complete findings were sealed ~ the procedure. Multiple attempts were made over the year to acquire the documents unsealed, with a 1993 reopening the the investigation into Elvis"s fatality getting the physician"s notes, however not the autopsy itself, released.


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Coincidentally Ballantine publications published a tell-all book, Elvis: What Happened? by Steve Dunleavy, including stories from 3 of Elvis"s former body guards, just over two weeks before the star"s death. The publication debuted with tiny fanfare and also only became well-known as soon as journalists and the public started denigrating Dunleavy, a previous tabloid reporter, over his allegations around Elvis"s medicine use and also carousing.

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It wasn"t until virtually two years after Elvis"s fatality that the opportunity of medicine connection started to it is in seriously reported.


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