‘Elvis Destined To Die Young’ Author Believes Elvis Presley Did Not Die From Self Destruction

On the eve of what would have been Elvis Presley‘s 86th birthday, some fans still aren’t entirely sure if Presley died from a heart attack due to drug abuse or an underlying condition.

Elvis Presley with his bass player Bill Black
Elvis Presley with his bass player Bill Black | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Author Sally Hoedel’s new book, Elvis Destined to Die Young painstakingly researched and unearthed new facts that point to the possibility that Presley actually had a genetic condition that led to his untimely death at age 42.

“I wrote this book because I genuinely believe this is a story that Elvis would want known,” Hoedel said in a statement shared with Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “He needed to be a strong American male while he was alive, and he hid his pain and his body’s weaknesses.”

“Yet, he always knew he was just like everyone else: human,” she added. “I believe he would be OK with everyone now understanding just how human he was. He struggled but he tried. My only hope for this labor of love is that it makes someone stop and think about Elvis just a little bit differently. He deserves it.”

Did Elvis Presley have a genetic condition from his mother’s side of the family?

Hoedel examined Presley’s mother, Gladys, and how the family tree may hold some of the answers. “There are a number of things that will forever remain unknown when it comes to the health of Gladys and Elvis,” she told Nigel Patterson on the Elvis Information Network.

“For example, how many miscarriages did Gladys suffer?” she wondered. “That is not a topic that would have ever been discussed during the decades she lived. Exactly what the heart ailment was that many of the Smiths suffered from and ultimately Elvis as well, is still unclear. What we do know is that there was a serious genetic liver/lung disease present.”

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“We know Elvis was a carrier for it and it had to come from somewhere. Tracing that backwards up the tree helps to explain not only the death of Gladys but the long illness of Gladys’ mother as well.”

The family tree may tell the full story

Hoedel also examined health issues Presley’s grandmother, Doll Smith faced. “Doll Smith was thought to have had Tuberculosis for over thirty years,” she said. “Again, something that doesn’t make sense, but continued to be passed down the family tree and then throughout recorded Elvis history as well.”

“This book explains how that Tuberculosis was most certainly a misdiagnosis in the early 1900s,” she observed. “From there, with the first-cousin marriage, we can see that Gladys most likely inherited two damaged genes and a more serious version of the disease.”

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Hoedel said Gladys Presley’s hepatitis was a mystery to the doctors in 1958. “By exploring this lung/liver ailment that was genetically present, it explains why it was a mystery to those doctors and allows us to truly understand what was wrong with Gladys for the first time,” she explained.

“Of course, we can then look for instances of this in Elvis as he was a known carrier. It is truly fascinating the way it connects through the generations with obvious evidence along the way.”