How did Elvis Presley die? The true story behind the last moments of the film

Elvis can tell the King’s life story over nearly three hours, but it shows the details of Presley’s death.

Baz Luhrmann’s epic biopic about Elvis Presley prefers to leave the audience with one of the icon’s last great achievements. At the end of the film, the red Mill director cuts to real footage of Presley at one of his last concerts. In a triumphant moment, he performs his version of “Unchained Melody” (as heard in the trailer).

The film chooses not to go further into the King’s life – perhaps not surprisingly, as watching a legend about music dying on the toilet can be too much of a bad ending for a film that cost $ 85 million. That, and it may have made the Presley family’s approval harder to obtain.

However, the fact that Elvis does not go into the details of how the real Presley died can only serve to make viewers new to his work more curious about the events surrounding his death – especially since so many conspiracy theories surrounding the events abound. .

How did Elvis die?

how elvis died
Elvis Presley in 1975. The singer would have died two years later.

Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977 at the age of 42. He was found dead by then-girlfriend Ginger Alden (who does not appear in Elvis film), who found him unconscious and lying face down in the main bathroom of his Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee.

Doctors tried to revive him, but he was pronounced dead around 3pm that afternoon. A few hours later, a trio of doctors performed an autopsy on his body.

There was public disagreement about the results of these pathologists, and this is perhaps where the conspiracy theories begin. One of the pathologists Dr. Jerry Francisco (who had attended the autopsy but, according to PBS, had not performed it) told the press that Presley had died of “cardiac arrhythmia.” This was then listed as the official cause of death along with “ventricular fibrillation … due to unknown causes.”

About Washington Post at the time, Francisco claimed that Presley’s heart was enlarged by about a third due to high blood pressure.

Although the autopsy concluded that Presley had died of a heart attack, Francisco told the press that drugs were not involved.

“I can not find evidence of drug abuse,” he summed up. “We have not completed all the toxicological tests, but I feel as safe as I can be that drugs did not play a role in his death.”

He also noted that there could be an unknown contributor to the singer’s death, as his suffering was not enough to kill him alone.

This turned out not to be the case and the other pathologists would later admit that he had covered up the role of the drugs in the death at the request of the family.

The public found out about this a few weeks later when toxicological reports revealed high levels of drugs including Quaaludes as well as prescription drugs like Dilaudid, Percodan, Demerol and Codeine. In all, there were 11 drugs in the singer’s blood at the time of his death.

In 1979, leading forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht (once president of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences) at 20/20. He examined Presley’s medical records and argued that it was these drugs that had led to his death.

elvis presley dead
Austin Butler in “Elvis.” The film deviates from the details of Elvis Presley’s death.

PBS NewsHour columnist Dr. Howard Markel went into more detail in a piece from 2018. He suggested that Presley died of a heart attack caused by trying a bowel movement while suffering from severe constipation. However, he blames this constipation on the substances in Presley’s body, which can cause serious difficulties in patients trying to have a bowel movement.

As he notes: “[Combine] obesity Elvis suffered from near the end of his life what appears to be type II diabetes, an enlarged heart and a stable diet of unhealthy, fatty and fried foods along with his infamous consumption of prescription pills, and you have the perfect recipe for disaster. “

Later, Presley’s personal physician George Nichopoulos was twice indicted for prescribing to Presley. Although he was acquitted both times, he had his medical license permanently suspended in 1995 by the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners.

Elvis is in theaters from June 24th.

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