To Elvis’ surprise, three of the bodyguards he fired chose to write a tell-all book — ” Elvis: What Happened?” . While he tried to pay off the publishers to not release the book, it ultimately went public on August 1, 1977.
It not only detailed The King’s issues with substance abuse but his romantic and personal relationships as well. The musician was devastated, but his former employees claimed it wasn’t written as a way to bring light to his troubles and encourage him to get help. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the time to do so as he died just two weeks later.
The King's Gut
It was also during this time that Elvis developed his infamous gut that nearly made him unrecognizable. His performances were so bad that many around him suggested he took a break. Guitarist John Wilkinson spoke about this period and said Elvis was in such bad shape he was hardly intelligible.
The King’s substance dependency eventually got so bad that he ended up firing anyone who commented on it. Unfortunately, this included his team of bodyguards and close friends. Elvis’ father handled much of the musician’s finances, and for this reason, he was the one to let them all go claiming they had to cut back on expenses.
The Final Proposal
In 1976, Elvis was dating model and actress Ginger Alden. He ultimately proposed, but friends of the singer claimed he wasn’t serious about getting married again after his recent divorce.
The quality of his performances declined even further. When he managed not to sleep through his shows, he would be slurring so badly that his words were inaudible. While he was able to lose some weight before his death, his health never recovered.
On August 16, 1977, Elvis’ fiance found him unresponsive on the bathroom floor. He was scheduled to fly to Memphis for a concert, one which he ultimately never made it to.
A witness described the scene and said that Elvis's body looked like it froze while he was using the toilet and then fell down right in front of it. He was pronounced dead the next day.
Priscilla Is Devastated
Despite them having been divorced for several years at the time, Priscilla was devastated upon learning of Elvis’ death.
When interviewed about this day, she recalled being overwhelmed with the news and not being able to do anything or wrap her head around the events until a plane was sent for her. When she went into the house, she heard people cry with his father, who was grieving badly.