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For some fans, Elvis Presley’s death is shrouded in conspiratorial mystery. There are still those who believe the King never truly died — some fans even started an Elvis Sighting Society in 1989. However, Presley did die, and it had a major impact on the world of music, and of course, on his close friends and family members. So how did Elvis Presley die, and how old was he?

Lisa Marie Presley watched her father’s decline

Elvis Presley with his wife Priscilla Presley and their 4 day old daughter Lisa Marie Presley
Elvis Presley with his wife Priscilla Presley and their 4 day old daughter Lisa Marie Presley | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Lisa Marie Presley and Elvis Presley were very close — Presley used to get up to no good with his daughter, wreaking havoc across Graceland. According to Lisa Marie, she and Elvis would even take turns crashing gocarts, among other activities. 

“I could decapitate a golf cart, I could take the hood off by running under a tree. I could drive through a fence and it would get fixed within three days. If it wasn’t me, running the golf cart through a tree, through the forest or through a fence, it was my father,” Priscilla said of Elvis Presley.

According to Priscilla Presley, Elvis was very present in her life as a father. She says he was attentive and loving. However, as he deteriorated in health, she wound up having to physically assist him. 

“Out of nowhere he’d just start falling and I’d have to go run and catch him and he was about 6’2 and quite heavy and I’m holding him up,” she recalled. 

“It was just starting to become too common. He was not too happy. He was in such an ivory tower and so untouchable and so alienated.”

“I actually said to him, ‘Please, you’re not going to die are you? Don’t die.’ I didn’t know then what was going on. I wish I had. I didn’t have any clue what was happening. I just thought he’s not happy. ‘[I thought] My God what is going on?’” she explained.

How did Elvis Presley die?

Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley | GAB Archive/Redferns

Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977 at the age of 42. His death was a black day for Americans, as the King’s impact on culture and music in the U.S. was immense. Mourners came out in droves to mourn Presley at Graceland. 

Presley’s death came on the heels of addiction. He was discovered lying on the floor of the Graceland master bathroom by Ginger Alden, and the official paperwork says he died of a heart attack. 

Fans and medical professionals alike have theorized that Presley’s heart attack was brought on by a combination of lifestyle factors. These included a poor diet, and an addiction to prescription drugs, along with declining mental health. 

How Elvis Presley’s death affected Priscilla Presley

Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley
Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Elvis Presley’s Death: Family Calls Graceland Graves Disrespectful

Of course, it’s no surprise that Elvis Presley’s death had a major impact on Priscilla Presley. Although the two were no longer together, they still shared a connection. 

“I love him. I still love him. I’ve never not loved him. Ever,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald. “I feel that I’ve never really left him. And he knew that. He knew that.”

When she learned Presley had died, she locked herself away and told others not to talk to her for the rest of the day. 

“I locked myself in the bedroom and left instructions that I would not speak to anyone, that I wanted to be alone. In fact, I wanted to die,” she wrote in Elvis and Me.

How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.