Is Elvis Alive? Sightings, Stories & King-Sized Conspiracy Theories

By | August 31, 2022

test article image
Left: Elvis Presley in concert circa 1977. Right: Detail of an image purported to be a high-resolution scan of the 'pool house photo' from 1977. Soures: R.D/Images Press/Getty Images;

On August 16, 1977, Elvis Presley died -- or did he? Almost immediately, the phenomenon of "Elvis sightings" went viral (by '70s standards), with rumors and tabloid cover stories offering "proof" that the King wasn't gone. 

The 42-year-old King of Rock 'n Roll passed away in the master bathroom in his home in Graceland, leaving a generation of fans and admirers in disbelief. Elvis had suffered a clear physical decline in the '70s, but still -- dead at 42? It was hard to accept that a combination of poor diet and drug addiction had taken down the icon. And in fact, some people didn't accept it; to this day, there are people all over the world who believe that Elvis didn’t die, he just had a change of address.

At the time of his death, Elvis was back on top thanks to a residency in Las Vegas and a couple of adult contemporary hits in 1975 and 1976, but Elvis-truthers think the King wanted out. He was tired of the fame and hangers-on, and most of all tired of being Elvis. What really happened on that fateful summer day in ’77? Did Elvis go to that big honky tonk in the sky, or did he escape Graceland to live the quiet life? Either way, Elvis has left the building. 

The Last Days Of Elvis

test article image
source: pinterest

It’s clear from looking at Elvis that he wasn’t the healthiest rock star on the planet. He was suffering from health issues and he was in obvious decline. The King was falling apart in front of everyone but he continued to record albums that sold well and he performed more shows at this point in his career than he did at his peak. It’s as if he realized that an end was coming and he wanted to give the people what they wanted, even if he was nowhere near the Elvis that people remembered.

During his final years, Elvis kept multiple doctors on call so he could get whatever he needed whether he was in Memphis, Las Vegas, or Los Angeles. His Vegas doctor was nicknamed “Flash” because of his ability to arrive quickly with whatever the singer needed. The King even sent his private plane, Lisa Marie, to pick up drugs for him and bring them back to Memphis.

At the same time, Elvis’ weight was ballooning from his numerous attempts to return to his trim looks of the 1950s. Sometimes he ate massive 8,000-calorie sandwiches, and in order to counteract that he tried to starve himself to get thin. The combination of the terrible diet and his intense drug addiction was killing Elvis in plain view of every one of his friends and fans.