It’s been 42 years since Elvis Presley died and the circumstances of his death is still baffling even today. Some believe he’s still alive, others think it was drugs, and then there are some who have wild conspiracies that are creepier than the man’s personal life.
If we’re to take the word of his then-girlfriend, Ginger Alden, who found the King of Rock and Roll’s unresponsive body on August 16, 1977, he “looked as if his entire body had completely frozen in a seated position while using the [toilet] and then had fallen forward, in that fixed position, directly in front of it.”
So what caused Elvis to get unceremoniously shuffled off this mortal coil while sitting on the bog?
Well according to the autopsy and various analyses, Elvis Presley died of a heart attack, hence why he fell forward when he was on the toilet. But there’s more to the story than his heart exploding because he also had pretty awful constipation and really struggled to take a dump during the best of times.
According to the report (via Snopes) by the four doctors who performed the post-mortem exam on the singer, his colon was “at least three and a half inches in diameter in some places and as large as four and half to five inches in diameter in others.” For comparison, normal sized colons are only around two inches in diameter.
Throw in the copious amounts of unnatural “white, chalklike fecal material” found in Elvis’ colon and it’s pretty clear that the dude had some misbehaving bowels.
Years of stuffing cheeseburgers down his throat, poor health habits and the widely documented drug use (which causes constipation) all contributed to the sorry state of Elvis’ clogged up bowels.
As described by one of the autopsy doctors, “When you take downer-type drugs, depressants, narcotics, a lot of them, most of them, have the concomitant effect of slowing down the digestive system.”
In other words, Elvis’ body was wrecked due to years of drugs and he was more clogged than a third world sewage pipe.
This brings us to the fateful day of Elvis’ death. While we’ll never know what exactly happened in the bathroom, there’s enough pieces of the puzzle for doctors to put together a reasonable picture of how the King of Rock and Roll got visited by the Grim Reaper.
Dr. Dan Warlick, who was present at Elvis’ autopsy, believes that the singer died to something called the “Valsalva maneuver,” which is basically when someone strains so hard when trying to take a dump they get a heart attack.
So in summary: Elvis’ health was poor, his bowels had seen far better days due to years of poor dieting and drugs, which in turn gave him some pretty nasty constipation, and it is likely that he died while sitting on the bog because he was struggling to squeeze a number two out and his heart gave out from all the strain.
It’s a bit of an ungraceful exit for one of rock’s most iconic entertainers, though it seems kind of fitting that the King should die while sitting on a throne.
One thing’s for sure, it’ll be interesting to see how Baz Luhrmann handles the King’s death in his big Elvis Presley biopic project. Austin Butler’s going to have big shoes – and pants – to fill.