For hardcore fans, the King is still alive, but for most of the population, they believe Elvis Presley died of addiction problems.
The rock’n’roll legend was said to have health problems as a side effect to being a drug abuser but biographer Sally Hoedel says the health problems were probably from his maternal grandparents, who were first cousins.
Historian Hoedel explains in her book Elvis: Destined To Die Young that many family members on his mom’s side died early, including three of his uncles.
Presley died at 42, on Aug. 16, 1977, with official paperwork stating a heart attack. While his mom, Gladys, died at 46.
“They had a similar four-year period of degenerative health, and that’s interesting because she did not take the same medication as he took,” she says in the book via NME.
Hoedel says that Presley had diseases in nine of 11 body systems and five of those were there since birth.
“Elvis is seen as less or more than human, like an image, and he’s been reduced to this rock’n’roll guy who died in his bathroom from taking too many pills,” Hoedel said in an interview with the Observer.
“That’s not enough for a man who culturally shifted our universe. It’s not accurate and it’s not enough. Elvis was a sick man who hid a lot of his weakness to fill concert venues and support his family. By examining his flaws and health issues, maybe we can start to see his humanity again.”
Hoedel hopes that her book will help clear up Presley’s image and “humanise” him.