It has been 40 years since Elvis Presley passed away from a heart attack at the age of 42, with the death of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll sparking shockwaves across the world.
In the months leading to his sudden death, the father-of-one struggled with a host of health problems, with his weight hitting 25 stone and prescription drug use leaving him lethargic.
Now his fiancee at the time of his death, Ginger Alden, has opened up about the star’s final moments, recalling finding Elvis slumped on his bathroom floor in August 1977.
Then aged 21, Ginger found the star just after 2pm in his Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee.
Writing in her memoirs, Ginger, 60, recalls: “Just after 2pm, I awoke and walked into Elvis’s bedroom in search of him. The bathroom door was cracked open a little.
“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.
“Sandy tried giving Elvis mouth-to-mouth. Looking over my shoulder, I saw a couple of paramedics arrive and quickly moved out of their way.”
Ginger goes on to reveal that she moved Elvis’ daughter, nine-year-old Lisa-Maria, away from the scene so that she wouldn’t see her father’s lifeless body, with the rocker’s death being announced shortly after 4pm that same day.
Opening up about her grief, Ginger shares: “The world around me had crumbled and my heart was broken. Elvis had become my total focus. I had become so consumed by being with him, and taking care of him, that my own needs and identity had been partly steamrolled by trying to keep up with his fast-paced life and be the best partner I could be for him.
“Our relationship had been so intense, as if he wanted me to know almost everything about him in a short time. I felt I’d found my soulmate.
“When I lost him, I lost the man who had turned my life upside down and become my friend, teacher, protector and lover; the man I’d loved deeply and planned to marry.”
Ginger has detailed her entire relationship with Elvis in her new book: Elvis and Ginger: Elvis Presley’s Fiancee and Last Love Finally Tells Her Story, out now.