Elvis was alone for the final four hours of his life. He died in the toilet after his fiancee had joked “Don’t fall asleep in there.” She discovered his body at 1.30pm. In the afternoon. Why did nobody notice he had been missing for so many hours during the day? The way he died and the way it went undiscovered for so long are both part of the tragic reasons why The King was lost far too young. As we count down the final 24 hours of his life, the key to understanding those missing hours is the knowledge that Elvis and those around him often lived a very nocturnal existence. Of course, all times are approximate, based on accounts from the family and loved ones who were there.
Monday, August 15, 1977, at 4pm:
Elvis woke up at home in Graceland.
He spent the day with daughter Lisa Marie and Ginger. His fiancee had refused his offer to move in together. She later recalled: “He had asked me to move into Graceland but I never did and he said, ‘I respect you for that.’ I just didn’t at the time. It wasn’t my way,”
Monday, August 15, 1977, at 10.30pm:
Elvis and Ginger went to see his dentist, Lester Hoffman, about persistent tooth pain.
READ MORE: Elvis death: Priscilla Presley on finding out ‘It was devastating’
Tuesday, August 16, 1977, 12.30am:
Elvis and Ginger returned to Graceland.
Driving back in through the gates, Elvis waved at fans, one of whom snapped the last ever picture of the star. Elvis was wearing a black jacket over a light blue shirt. Even though it was night and he was at the wheel, he was wearing large black sunglasses.
Tuesday, August 16, 1977, 2.15am:
Elvis called his personal physician, Dr Nichopoulos to ask for pain killers.
He was prescribed six Dilaudid tablets and sent his stepbrother, Ricky Stanley, to get them from the all-night pharmacy at Baptist Memorial Hospital. Elvis took the pain killers.
Tuesday, August 16, 1977, 4am:
Elvis telephoned his cousin Billy and wife Jo and asked them to come over and play racketball on the court at his house.
It had been raining and when they arrived, Billy told Elvis he wished it would stop. Apparently, The King held out his hands and replied: “Ain’t no problem, I’ll take care of it.” Miraculously, the rain stopped and Elvis added: “If you have a little faith, you can stop anything.”
Tuesday, August 16, 1977, 4.30am:
After a short game, they went to a piano behind the court and Elvis played two gospel songs and then the ballad Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.
Elvis Presley: Nancy Sinatra talks ‘FLIRTING’ with the King
Elvis Presley HOLOGRAM tour? Priscilla Presley speaks out
Elvis: ‘I still feel his spirit at Graceland’ says Priscilla Presley
Tuesday, August 16, 1977, 5:00 am:
Elvis and Ginger went up to Elvis’ bedroom. He took a package of prescription drugs put together by ‘Dr Nick’ for twice-daily use.
The doctor would regularly leave these drug cocktails with Elvis’s nurse Tish Henley. They were intended to the star sleep. After Elvis’s death, the doctor was investigated over the extraordinary amount of drugs he prescribed to the star and eventually disbarred.
Tuesday, August 16, 1977, 7:00 am:
Still not able to sleep, Elvis took a second full package of the pills. They were handed to him by Ricky who was ‘on duty’ to noon that day. Elvis needed to sleep because he was due to fly out at 7pm to Portland, Maine for a concert on the 17th and then continue from there straight on with his current US tour.
Tuesday, August 16, 1977, 8:00 am:
Desperate to sleep, Elvis called Ricky to bring more medications but he could not be found. Angry, Elvis called his aunt Delta Mae Biggs and asked her to telephone Dr Nick. Nurse Henley was at the office but reluctant to hand over any more pills. Eventually, she gave a third, smaller, package of the pills to Delta Mae containing two valmids, used to treat insomnia.