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Elvis Presley: Gone too soon

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When his friend Ginger Alden said “Don’t fall asleep in there”, Elvis replied “Okay, I won’t” nobody could have guessed Elvis would pass away in the bathroom just a few moments later. These were apparently the last words spoken by the legendary singer and musician Elvis Presley who passed away on the day of August 16, 1977. He was only 42. Presley had “stumbled or crawled several feet before he died”, said the medical investigator. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead by the hospital authorities.

The autopsy reports revealed that Presley succumbed to cardiac arrhythmia or irregular heartbeats and denied any role of drug abuse in his death. “There was no indication of any drug abuse of any kind,” said the medical examiner of Baptist Memorial Hospital who performed the autopsy.

However, there were allegations of the actual cause being covered up. According to the media reports, it was said that Presley’s family, together with the autopsy physicians tried to hide the real cause of his death which was put forward as an overdose of prescribed drugs like Codeine, Valium, Morphine, etc. But, the doctor who performed the initial autopsy rebuffed all the allegations and said: “We are not subjected to any family pressure to limit our investigation. It was a routine autopsy to discover the cause of death. We did what was necessary with the procedures that were available at the time.” As a result of the accusations, the autopsy was re-opened in 1994.

The coroner, Dr. Joseph Davis said: “There is nothing in any of the data that supports a death from drugs. In fact, everything points to a sudden, violent heart attack”.

It was not made clear whether the rock star died of natural causes or intoxication but according to many, it was a combination of both that led to his premature death. After the preliminary autopsy, Presley’s tissue samples reached laboratories for further examination that confirmed heavy consumption of drugs. Pathologist and Forensic historian Michael Baden observed the situation as, “Elvis had had an enlarged heart for a long time. That, together with his drug habit, caused his death. But he was difficult to diagnose; it was a judgment call.”

Elvis Presley, often referred to as “the king of rock-n-roll” was an American musician and actor. The Tennessee boy began his singing career in 1954 with the famous ‘Sun Records’. The versatility in his voice made him the new singing sensation of the era. Soon, he became a Cultural Icon. He won three Grammy awards after being nominated for 14 and also received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award when he was just 36.

Read our article about Elvis’ battle with bipolar.

Other celebrities who died too young include Heath Ledger, Chris Farley, Brad Renfro and River Phoenix.

Image: PR Photos

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