Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll, passed away on August 16, 1977, of a heart attack that was likely brought on by his addiction to barbiturates. But what lead to his untimely demise, and who is to blame?
In the last four years of Presley’s life, he had been prescribed about 19,000 doses of drugs. In 1977 alone, Dr. Nicholpoulous wrote him 199 prescriptions which amounted to more than 10,000 doses of sedatives, narcotics, and amphetamines.
When Did Elvis Presley Die?
Elvis Aaron Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 8, 1935. Little did anyone know that he would grow up to be one of the most iconic musicians in the world. Presley passed away in his Memphis mansion in Graceland on August 16, 1977, at the young age of 42. His fiance, Ginger Alden, found him lying unconscious on the floor of their master suite bathroom.
According to Alden, the last words Presley said were: I’m going to the bathroom to read. He was brought to eh Baptist Memorial Hospital immediately. After several attempts to revive him, he was pronounced dead by 3:30 pm. (Source: Town and Country Magazine)
What Were the Events That Lead to Elvis Presley’s Death?
While Presley’s death is officially listed as a heart attack, it appears the very cause of this is connected with his longstanding abuse of prescription drugs.
At the height of his success, just like most rockstars, Presley used several kinds of prescription drugs that included barbiturates, opiates, and sedatives. The toxicology report of his blood came back showing high dosages of Dilaudid, Percodan, Demerol, Quaaludes, and codeine.
Dr. George Nichopoulos was implicated for Presley’s death. He had been treating the King of Rock since 1967 and had his medical license suspended for prescribing and dispensing controlled substances. According to court data, Dr. Nichopoulos had been prescribing Presley with over 12,000 pills in the last 20 months before he passed. Presley would carry three suitcases of drugs whenever he traveled. Dr. Nichopoulos argued that these drugs were meant for Presley’s entire entourage.
Later on, Dr. Nichopoulos testified that he gave Presley whatever medication he wanted because if he refused, he would just get it somewhere else. By November 1982, Dr. Nichopoulos was charged with 11 felony counts of overprescribing drugs. He was later on acquitted of the charges and maintained his medical license until 1995. (Source: Town and Country Magazine)
What is the Controversy Behind Elvis Presley’s Death?
Back in those days, celebrities and musicians were known to abuse drugs. Presley shared this trait with performers like Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. His team and family managed to keep this dark part of his life private. After his passing, his family requested that the autopsy to determine his cause of death to be done privately.
At the time, Dr. Jerry Francisco, Tennessee’s Chief Medical Examiner, released Presley’s official death certificate listing the cause of death as a coronary issue unrelated to drugs.
Elvis Presley died of heart disease, and prescription drugs found in his blood were not a contributing factor. Had these drugs not been there, he still would have died.Dr. Jerry Francisco, Chief Medical Examiner
Pathologists involved in the autopsy criticized Dr. Francisco’s actions as it was apparent he was favoring the family’s request. Mulitple doctors agree that the cause of the musician’s death is linked with a toxic combination of different pharmaceuticals. (Source: Town and Country Magazine)