A writer has claimed that the tragic death of Elvis Presley at the age of 42 was not caused by self-destruction and drug addiction, but rather was a tragic fatality spurred on by bad genes in the singer’s family tree .
Myths and misconceptions have continued to swirl around Elvis’ death in the 45 years since the legendary entertainer was found unconscious in the bathroom of his Graceland mansion on August 16, 1977, reported The American Sun.
His official cause of death was ruled a heart attack, a tragic fate that has long been attributed to the king’s overindulgence in prescription drugs and unhealthy foods.
These attributions date back to media coverage at the time, with reports portraying the star as a bloated, desperate drug addict – a rock ‘n’ roll cliché who took too many pills and died long before his time.
But for author and lifelong fan Sally Hoedel, the cause of Elvis’ untimely demise isn’t so clear.
Hoedel claimed that Elvis was always destined to die young. She attributed this to her belief that he may have had a series of faulty genes that may have been passed down to him from his maternal grandparents, Bob Smith and Doll Mansell, who were first cousins.
Hoedel argued that these alleged defective genes were aggravating factors for his various health conditions, which he in turn treated with a cocktail of prescription drugs.
“This first-cousin marriage obviously causes a lot of problems,” Hoedel speculated. The American Sun during a telephone interview from his home in Michigan.
“Elvis’ mother Gladys died very young at 46 and she had three brothers who all died at similar ages from heart and lung problems. So it stops being a coincidence the moment it happens to Elvis,” she claimed, “because there’s so much going on in that family tree.”
For his book, Elvis: Destined to Die YoungHoedel researched the medical history of the Presley family and uncovered some never-before-seen information.
His interest in the subject was piqued after noticing a series of similarities in the deaths of Elvis and his beloved mother Gladys, who died almost exactly 19 years before him on August 14, 1958.
Gladys, like her superstar son, died of heart failure. She was 46, just four years older than Elvis when he died.
Additionally, Elvis and Gladys suffered a “similar four-year period of degenerative health” before their deaths, according to Hoedel, “which is interesting because they weren’t on the same kinds of medications.”
Research by Hoedel revealed that Gladys had been seeing a cardiologist since at least 1956 and had also been hospitalized for two weeks that same year for a mystery illness.
Shortly before her death, Gladys was also diagnosed with hepatitis, the origins of which baffled her doctors at the time. The condition, which targets the lungs and liver, is believed to have been linked to Gladys’ alcoholism.
Born and raised in extreme poverty in the Deep South, Gladys’ struggles to cope with her son’s meteoric rise to fame and fortune are well documented, the so-called ‘most miserable woman in the world’ is said to have once told a friend on the phone, “I wish we were poor again, really.”
Increasingly isolated and depressed as Elvis became a global sensation, Gladys began drinking heavily and taking diet pills – a downward spiral that many believe led to her diagnosis of hepatitis and ultimately contributed to her his death.
Gladys fell seriously ill just months after Elvis enlisted in the US Army. The timing of her deteriorating health has spurred theories that Gladys got drunk to death, wracked with worry and suffering a broken heart while her son was serving overseas in Germany.
Hoedel thinks the narrative is baseless “romanticism.”
“Gladys was always portrayed as this woman whose son became famous, bought her a big house and she just struggled to cope with it all and basically died of a broken heart,” claimed the author and historian.
“But that’s not how it works. I think Elvis and Vernon [Elvis’ dad] both knew who knew how sick she was before she left for the army.
“They were all so sad because I’m sure they knew they didn’t have much time left with her.”
Hoedel argued – like Elvis – that the causes of Gladys’ death and ill health lie higher in the family tree.
“The Presleys were incredibly secretive about their health,” Hoedel said, “but I managed to interview people like Nancy Clarke, the daughter of Gladys’ cardiologist, who used to do house calls with her father. at the Presleys’ home.
“And she told me before her father died he said there was more to Gladys death than he understood because he has long been quoted as saying it looked like hepatitis , but it wasn’t, and he couldn’t figure it out. was wrong with her.
Hoedel believed that Gladys actually suffered from alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, an inherited and rarely diagnosed condition that can cause lung and liver disease.
“We know Elvis had it because he turned out to be an Alpha-1 carrier after he died, so it had to come from somewhere,” she added.
“And it all comes back to Gladys’ parents,” she claimed.
In her book, Hoedel examined the health issues of Elvis’ grandmother, Doll Smith, who reportedly suffered from tuberculosis for more than 30 years.
“Again, something that doesn’t make sense, but has continued to be passed down the family tree and then throughout Elvis’ recorded history,” Hoedel explained. “This book explains how tuberculosis was most definitely misdiagnosed in the early 1900s.
“From there, with the marriage of the first cousin, Gladys [may have] inherited two damaged genes and a more severe version of the disease.
All of Gladys’ brothers also died of heart and liver problems in their 40s and early 50s.
Faulty and faulty genes were also passed down to Elvis, Hoedel suggested.
The legendary crooner suffered from illnesses in nine of 11 body systems, including his heart, lungs and intestines. It was Hoedel’s assertion that five of these pathological processes were present from birth. Hoedel thought Elvis was a man who struggled every day to survive.
Her prescription drug problem, she theorized, may have been the result of Elvis and his infamous doctor, George “Nick” Nichopolous, trying to treat her various birth defects, rather than just senseless overconsumption.
“Elvis had various health issues but he hid them so well that overmedication is what we remember now,” Hoedel said.
“He often took too many, and there are issues there, but you have to wonder why he was taking those pills in the first place.
“One of the reasons Elvis turned to medication was for pain, he was also a lifelong insomniac, but the reason he was self-medicating was that he was trying to find a way to ‘be Elvis Presley.’
The longer he toured, the more medication he would need to overcome his various ailments, Hoedel suggested.
But Elvis – a devoted son, husband, father and friend – just couldn’t stop performing. He had over 100 people on his payroll, relying on him to keep bringing in the money to keep them afloat.
Memphis Mafia member Lamar Fike told Hoedel he begged Elvis to stop touring after the singer complained of fatigue and pain.
“I have to do the payroll,” replied the king.
Speaking of the once-electric entertainer’s fragile health in his later years, Elvis’ bodyguard Ed Parker described him as a “battery that had been drained too many times”.
“His body couldn’t hold a load anymore,” Parker said.
However, Elvis was a soldier until his life came to an abrupt end on August 16, 1977.
Ultimately, as the title of his book suggests, Hoedel argued that Elvis was always destined to die young and that nothing could have saved the king of rock ‘n’ roll from the unfavorable genetic hand that she believed to have been treated.
For the author, examining Elvis’ supposedly flawed genetic makeup was an effort to rehumanize the mythical figure of Presley, who she says in the years since his death has been reduced to a rock cliché star who simply died alone in the bathroom. floor.
“There are so many myths and misconceptions about how Elvis lived, not just how he died, and that’s not fair to Elvis,” Hoedel said.
“I think Elvis is the biggest victim of sensationalism and romanticism, and both have kind of plagued and haunted his legacy and kept him from being remembered as the incredibly important historical figure that he is.
“Elvis changed our universe culturally like no one has before and he deserves to be treated like a Henry Ford or a Thomas Edison of pop culture.
“But the narrative of sex drugs and rock ‘n’ roll held him back – he deserves a bigger place in American history.”
This article originally appeared on The Sun and is reproduced here with permission