Elvis Presley’s Stepbrother Clarifies New Book’s Alleged ‘Suicide’ Claims
Elvis Presley's stepbrother, David E. Stanley, says a story that claims his upcoming new book includes allegations that "the King of Rock and Roll" deliberately overdosed on pills, killing himself, is taking his words out of context.
Drugs have long been suspected as at least a partial cause of Presley's death on Aug. 16, 1977, at the age of 42. A heart attack was ruled to be his official cause of death, though toxicology reports identified several drugs in the King's system at his time of death. Those drugs are suspected to have contributed to Presley's death, but the New York Daily News reports that in his forthcoming book, My Brother Elvis, Stanley claims that Presley knew just what he was doing.
Stanley, who also worked for Presley, and Presley became stepbrothers in 1960, when Stanley's mother married Presley's widowed father; Stanley was 20 years younger than Presley, and moved into Graceland when he was just four years old. In his book, according to the New York Daily News' story, Stanley writes that the last time he saw Presley was on Aug. 14, 1977. At the time, the King said that he was going away for a few days and that the next time they met up, he would be "on a higher plane." Two days later, Presley was found dead at Graceland.
Per the New York Daily News, Stanley claims that Presley had "done this on purpose" and recalls wondering why. He also writes that when paramedics, family and aides were called to Graceland, pills and syringes were surrounding Presley's lifeless body, so he began shoving the evidence into his pockets before police arrived on the scene. Official reports on Presley's death say that no drugs were found at Graceland.
In addition to his suicide claims, the New York Daily News reports that Stanley describes Presley's final days as being consumed with prescription pills to the point that his inner circle of loved ones was on watch around the clock to help him to the bathroom. The publication also reports that Stanley also recalls Presley falling asleep at the dinner table while eating, to the point that he and others had to "reach inside his mouth and remove the food."
"I felt it was my responsibility to write a book about these realities of Elvis beyond the glitz, glamour and fun," Stanley says of the allegations (quote via AOL). "He was human, and his very human frailties and vulnerabilities cost him his life. If addiction could happen to Elvis, it can happen to anyone."
However, following the New York Daily News' piece, Stanley wrote on Facebook that the story “took what I had written about Elvis’ passing completely out of context." He decided to speak out after "[t]he article went viral and circulated worldwide ... to refute the article’s content and delivery.”
“Yes, My Brother Elvis is a sad story of pain and loss dealing with the final years of his life and the time I spent with him, but it’s not without compassion and love … As far as his passing, only he and God knows what happen[ed] in those final moments that took him from us all,” Stanley says, adding that he wrote the book to raise awareness of prescription drug abuse.
My Brother Elvis is set for release on Aug. 16, the 39th anniversary of Presley's death.
In other recent Presley news, Scotty Moore, Presley's original guitarist, passed away on Tuesday (June 28).