Elvis was alone for the last four hours of his life. At around 9.30am on August 16 he got ready for bed and went to the bathroom. The 42-year-old star had taken pain killers for severe tooth ache and three different packages of prescription pills. Dressed in gold pyjamas, he took the book Frank Adams’ The Scientific Search for the Face of Jesus with him. Elvis would often spend long periods in the bathroom. As well as suffering from severe constipation, he enjoyed the solitude. It was his usual time for bed, after spending the night entertaining guests and family, he would typically sleep until around 4pm. WARNING: SOME DISTRESSING DETAILS
Ginger recalled: “The last thing Elvis said to me was after I told him not to fall asleep in the bathroom and he told me, ‘I won’t.’ And then he turns and gave me a little wave, walked into the bathroom and I found him a little while later…
Ginger woke up around 2pm, realised she was alone in bed and then noticed the bathroom door cracked open a little.
She later wrote: “I knocked on the door and said, ‘Elvis?’ There was no answer. Slowly opening the door, I peered in and saw Elvis on the floor. I stood paralysed.
“Elvis looked as if his entire body had completely frozen in a seated position then fallen forward. His legs were bent, the upper part of his chest and shoulders touched the ground, and his head was slightly turned to the left with his cheek resting on the floor.”
“His arms lay on the ground, close to his sides, palms facing upward. It was clear that, from the moment he landed on the floor, Elvis hadn’t moved. I rushed over, bent down beside him and said, ‘Elvis?’
“A horrible fear shot through me. His pyjama top had slid forward a little. I touched his lower back. His skin felt cool.
“I gently turned his face toward me. A hint of air expelled from his nose. The tip of his tongue was clenched between his teeth and his face was blotchy.
“I gently raised one eyelid. His eye was staring straight ahead and blood-red. Frantic now, I reached for the phone by the toilet and called downstairs.”
“His dad Vernon arrived, accompanied by his partner Sandy and Elvis’s cousin Patsy. ‘Oh God, son, don’t die,’ he pleaded.
“He looked as if he might collapse. He sat down and shouted ‘breathe’ with the rest of us as Sandy tried giving Elvis mouth-to-mouth.”
Elvis’ friend and road manager Joe Espositio and staff member Al Strada (who was on duty downstairs) also tried to revive him while calling emergency services. An ambulance with two firemen EMTs was dispatched from Engine House No 29 in Whitehaven.
Elvis’ daughter Lisa Marie, who was only nine, had heard all the noise. Her bedroom was across the hall and she tried entering the bathroom, asking: “What’s wrong with my daddy?”
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She was shepherded out by Ginger who closed the bathroom door, with Lisa Marie saying, “Something’s wrong with my daddy and I’m going to find out.”
The ambulance arrived and the attendants later recorded there were no visible signs of life before loading Elvis into the vehicle.
Elvis’ personal physician Dr Nichopolous arrived and crashed his car into the gates, before leaping out and climbing into the ambulance where he tried to revive Elvis on the seven-minute journey to the hospital.
The ambulance arrived at Baptist Memorial Hospital at 2:55pm, just 22 minutes after the initial call was made from the house.
Elvis was taken into Trauma Room No1 and final efforts were made to resuscitate the star, to no avail. Time of death was called at 3.30pm.
Dr Nick rushed back to Graceland to tell Vernon the terrible news before the media were informed.
At 4pm a brokenhearted Vernon stood on the steps outside Graceland and told the gathered media and the world that his son was gone.
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