Everybody thinks they know how Elvis died. The world’s biggest star was found in his bathroom at Graceland on August 16, 1977, and pronounced dead at Memphis Baptist Memorial Hospital. His autopsy was legally sealed for fifty years but, in layman’s terms, his cause of death was attributed to heart failure, exacerbated by constipation caused by years of excessive prescription drug use. In a new book, Elvis: Destined To Die Young, author Sally Hoedel disputes the accepted facts and gives compelling and detailed medical and family reasons why.
Elvis didn’t just die two days after the anniversary of his beloved mother Glady’s death on August 14, 1958, he was 42 to her 46 and they both had similar symptoms and then died of a heart-related issue. Furthermore, three of the star’s uncles died of heart, kidney and liver issues in their forties and early fifties.
Hoedel said: “I felt like there had to be a correlation there because they weren’t both taking the same prescription medication and why does he have all these really geriatric diseases very young in life with glaucoma, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and different things like that?”
Hoedel categorically does not dispute the damage done by his abusive use of prescription medications but her research reveals that this was secondary to the fact that Elvis died with diseases in nine of the body’s eleven organ systems – and five of them had been there since birth.
In a new interview, she said:“ “His health issues were varied but he hid them so well that over-medication is all we remember now. It became a problem, but why was he taking them in the first place?
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The condition can attack the lungs and liver as well as cause colon issues, an immune deficiency and lifelong insomnia all of which afflicted Elvis.
Many of these have traditionally been linked to the pressures caused by the star’s extraordinary fame and his attempts to manage them with uppers and downers. Hoedel argues The King’s genetic inheritance from his mother and grandparents was at the root of it all.
His maternal grandparents Doll and Bob Smith were first cousins, at a time when family intermarriage was not quite as taboo as it is now primarily because of the genetic implications.
Hoedel’s book aims to dispel the image of a star self-destructing like so many others. Instead, she paints a picture of a man dealing with unimaginable pressures at the same time as battling serious lifelong health issues.
On top of that, Elvis felt responsible for the lives and livelihoods of a vast number of people around him.
Hoedeltold The Observer: “By the time he’s touring again in the 70s, he was providing for more than 100 people. He says, ‘I’m sick, I don’t feel good, but I can’t stop because everybody is relying on me.’
“Elvis’s story is looked on as one of destruction, but it is a futile struggle to survive, through poverty and then through health issues. It was hard to be Elvis, no one had done fame like that before, and no one else could do it for him. He was trying to function within his reality.”
Elvis: Destined To Die Young is out now: CLICK here.