Elvis death: Last person to see The King’s body before his open casket was closed – WATCH | Music | Entertainment

In the early hours of August 16, 1977, Elvis Presley said good night to his cousin Billy Smith and his wife Jo after a final game of racquetball in the private court at Graceland. The King had just sung a couple of songs including Unchained Melody at the piano over there before heading back to the mansion. Shortly afterwards, the 42-year-old star and his girlfriend Ginger Alden headed upstairs to bed after briefly greeting Lisa Marie.

At one point in the morning, Elvis told Ginger he was going to go and read on the toilet.

Checking on him later, she discovered the star’s lifeless corpse on the bathroom floor after a fatal heart attack.

The King was taken to the Memphis hospital where he was pronounced dead before his body was prepared for burial.

The star’s corpse was placed in an open casket downstairs at Graceland, as friends, family and old flames rushed to the house ahead of the funeral.

Crowds of distraught fans lined up outside the mansion on what was an incredibly hot day, with some fainting from the heat and emotion.

They queued to pay respects through what little they could see by a door, with the casket facing away from them vertically.

Elvis’ father Vernon had allowed this so the fans could say their farewell to the music icon.

Eyewitnesses say it was hard to see The King’s face, but around 30,000 members of the public were able to file on by.

During August 17, Elvis’ casket was kept in the Music Room, which had a curtain drawn to give everyone a chance to say a quiet goodbye.

The King had been dressed in a white suit, tie and a light blue baby shirt, while his hair had been perfectly quaffed and sideburns re-dyed for the final time by his stylist Larry Geller.

There’s a rumour that he was the last person to see Elvis’ body as the casket was closed for the funeral a day later, but The King’s cousin Danny Smith, the son of Billy and Jo who grew up at Graceland, disputes this.

On his YouTube channel Memphis Mafia Kid, he said: “I don’t think so. I’m almost positive the last ones was Uncle Vernon, Priscilla and Lisa. The best that I would remember.”

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This would make the most sense as they were the three closest family members to Elvis.

Lisa Marie actually ended up giving her father a final special gift to go inside the casket too.

The 9-year-old had asked funeral director Robert Kendall if she could put a bracelet on him.

After the little girl said she wanted it to go on his right wrist, Kendall lifted up The King’s right arm and slipped the jewellery on for her.

Lisa even asked Kendall if it would stay in place forever, and he reassured her it would.

After his daughter had left the room, Priscilla asked for the bracelet to be concealed beneath The King’s shirt sleeve.

Following the funeral, the singer was buried next to his mother Gladys at Forest Hill Cemetery, before both bodies were moved to Graceland for security.

To this day they’re resting in the Meditation Garden with Vernon, Elvis’ grandmother Minnie Mae and Lisa’s son Benjamin Keough.



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