Inside Elvis final days – drug addiction, engagement and chilling last words

The King of Rock 'n' Roll Elvis Presley would have been 87 years old today.

The star, who was born January 8 1935, is one of the world's most iconic musicians, sadly dying at the age of 42 at his Graceland home.

The singer was found dead on August 16 1977, with his death shocking the world and leaving fans devastated.

Elvis had proposed to his fiancee Ginger Alden over eight months earlier, with the singer revealing to her in the days before that he had been hoping to get back out on stage.

However, documentaries and reports throughout the years have also revealed that in the last months and days before his death, Elvis' health was in decline and that the singer had an addiction to prescription drugs.

Health decline

The King of Rock 'n' Roll kept fit as a younger performer, practising martial arts and playing football in his downtime from entertaining audiences.

However as he got older, he also began to eat a range of unhealthy snacks, which reportedly included fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches and platters of cheeseburgers.

The singer later developed a number of conditions including high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, in addition to other conditions such as glaucoma.

At the time of his death, it is also reported that the star weighed over 25 stone.

Following his death, a post-mortem examination showed that the singer had also developed cardiovascular disease and that his heart had swollen to twice its normal size.

Doctors also discovered that despite having never smoked, Elvis also had emphysema, a condition that would have made it difficult for the singer to breathe.

Drug addiction

The post-mortem examination into Elvis' death concluded that drugs had played no part in the singer's death.

However, it was later revealed that in the months leading up to his death, Elvis had been prescribed over 9,000 pills and a number of injections.

The singer had started taking prescription drugs to cope with his rise to fame and subsequently insomnia, with reports suggesting that in the last 20 months of his life, the star carried three suitcases of the drugs with him.

In 1981, the doctor who prescribed the drugs was charged with 11 counts of over prescribing drugs, but was later acquitted of the charges.

Elvis' doctor was later quoted in The Mirror as saying that Elvis was in denial about having an addiction, saying, "Elvis’ problem was that he didn’t see the wrong in it.

"He felt that by getting it from a doctor, he wasn’t the common everyday junkie getting something off the street."

Engagement heartbreak

Elvis Presley was famously married to Priscilla Presley, with who he had one daughter called Lisa-Marie, from 1967-1973.

After their divorce, the singer started a relationship with Ginger Alden, proposing to her in January 1977.

However, their engagement happiness turned to heartbreak when Elvis died eight months later.

Ginger Alden has said that the singer was in high spirits in the months and weeks before his death, after proposing to her, saying in the HBO documentary Elvis Presley: The Searcher that on the day he died he was "in a good mood."

"We had just set a wedding date literally hours earlier and he told me a couple of weeks before he passed that he had been off too long.

"He was ready to go back on stage, something he loved with all of his being.

"This day had begun with excitement and hope for Elvis and me, but ended in heartache and disbelief."

Tragic death

On the last day of his life, Elvis spent time with his fiance Ginger and his daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, at his Graceland home.

He also played a game of racquetball with his cousin Billy and Billy's wife Jo in the early hours of the morning, before the star sat at the piano to play a number of songs for his guests.

At 5am into the early hours of August 16 1977, Elvis and Ginger finally went to bed, with Elvis taking the drugs prescribed to him by his doctor.

However at 7am the next morning on August 16 1977, Elvis said that he still could not sleep and told Ginger that was going to the bathroom.

Ginger is reported to have told him not to fall asleep on the toilet, with Elvis replying "I won't."

Ginger Alden later found Elvis dead in the bathroom at his home in Graceland at 2pm, after waking up and realising that Elvis was not in the bed next to her.

In her memoir, Ginger wrote about the moment she found him, saying: "his arms lay on the ground, close to his sides, palms facing upward.

“It was clear that, from the moment he landed on the floor, Elvis hadn’t moved.

"I gently turned his face toward me. A hint of air expelled from his nose.

"The tip of his tongue was clenched between his teeth and his face was blotchy. I gently raised one eyelid. His eye was staring straight ahead and blood red."

Ginger called an ambulance, with a statement released at the time saying: "A Memphis Fire Department ambulance from Engine House 29 at 2147 Elvis Presley Boulevard responded to the call at 2:33pm and by 2:56pm had taken Presley to the emergency room at Baptist Hospital, seven miles away from his Whitehaven home."

However just over an hour later, the King of Rock 'n' Roll was pronounced dead at the hospital, leaving fans and fellow stars across the world devastated over the death of one of music's legendary stars.

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