Today marks 42 years since the iconic Elvis Presley's death

Music 16/08/2019

Elvis Presley passed away 42 years ago today, on Tuesday 16th August, 1977.

In his last years, the king of rock 'n' roll became a prisoner to his own success - he couldn't go out during the day without being mobbed, so he slept all day and partied all night. This led to a cycle of sleeping pills and amphetamines to keep up the lifestyle. 

Presley's last day was marked with a toothache pain, leading to taking too many pills and him passing away in his bathroom overnight at only 42 years old.

He attended a dentist appointment on Monday the 15th August at 10.30pm, and then called his doctor at 2.15am on Tuesday the 16th to request more painkillers - presumably to ease pain caused by the dentist trip. 

At 4am that same morning, Elvis woke up his first cousin Billy Smith and his wife Jo, requesting they play a game of raquetball with him. Presley played the game without moving much, attempting to hit Billy with the ball. While doing so, he hit himself in the leg with his racquet causing the game to end. 

Calling it a night at 5am, Elvis decided to go to his bedroom with his girlfriend Ginger. He took one of the prepackaged packets of pills created by his doctor for twice-daily use. He took a second pack of pills at 7am. 

Still unable to sleep, Elvis asked for a third packet of pills at 8am. His aunt Delta Mae Biggs delivered the pills to him. 

At 9.30am, Elvis took the book he'd been reading - Frank Adams 'The Scientific Search for the Face of Jesus' - and went into the bathroom. Ginger said to him "Don't fall asleep in there," knowing he tends to nod off. He replied "Ok, I won't", and Ginger went back to sleep.

When Ginger awoke at 1.30pm, she saw that Elvis was still gone. When she got no reply to knocking on the bathroom door, she entered and found his lifeless body on the floor in front of the toilet. Ginger screamed for Elvis' associates Al Strada and Joe Esposito, who arrived and called the fire department. An ambulance was dispatched. Daughter Lisa Marie and father Vernon arrived in the bathroom, but Lisa Marie is quickly removed from the scene.

Elvis Presley arrived at the Baptist Medical Center in Memphis at 2.56pm, and was pronounced dead at 3pm. 

On the steps of Graceland, heartbroken father Vernon Presley told the assembled reporters: "My son is dead" at 4pm. The news stunned the nation—and the world—as it came across radio and TV stations, interrupting whatever programming was on at the time. He was the first rock superstar and an icon, and was gone so suddenly.