On This Day…

Death of Elvis Presley

August 16, 1977

The 42-year-old “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” is found unresponsive on his bathroom floor. Elvis Presley‘s death has been attributed to a possible combination of an enlarged heart and prescription drugs. In the first eight months of 1977, Elvis had been prescribed more than 10,000 doses of sedatives, amphetamines, and narcotics. An autopsy showed he was chronically ill with diabetes, glaucoma, and constipation. It is believed that straining on the toilet may have induced a heart attack. His chronic constipation was probably due to a combination of drugs and diet.
In 1980, Dr. Nichopoulos was charged with prescribing excessive amounts of drugs to Presley and other patients. During the trial, Dr. Nichopoulos claimed Presley had a number of illnesses requiring constant medical attention, including glaucoma, liver trouble, arthritis, and migraines. He claimed Elvis would have died 10 years earlier without his help. Dr. Nichopoulos was ultimately acquitted of all charges, however, in 1993 the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners permanently revoked his license for overprescribing to many patients over multiple years.