Why Elvis Presley’s Dad Blamed Him For His Heart Attack And His Mother’s Death


Elvis Presley’s Billy Smith cousin detailed that the late star’s father, Vernon Presley, blamed him for some sad occurrences in his life, including his wife’s death. In 1975, Elvis and his dad shared neighboring rooms in the hospital as Vernon was recovering from a heart attack while Elvis was under his doctor’s watch to monitor the effects of drug abuse on his organs.

Vernon reportedly lashed out at Elvis. “I can thank you for this. He blamed him for Aunt Gladys, too. He said, ‘You worried your mama right to the grave.’” Billy Smith reminisced on Peter Guralnick’s book, Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley.


Elvis was nearly broken


Elvis lost his mother nearly two decades before his father’s heart attack and was utterly devastated by the news. Notably, because Gladys Presley’s health declined after Elvis was sent to serve in the military. “Elvis broke down and cried. It about killed him,” Billy said.


RELATED: Mick Jagger Once Shamed Elvis Presley For ‘Singing In Las Vegas With All Those Housewives And Old Ladies’

According to Elvis’ ex-wife, Priscilla, he shared an inseparable bond with his mother and saw her as the love of his life. “Her concern for his welfare while he was away from home was so great that she would spend sleepless nights until his call came, telling her he was safe,” she wrote in her book, Elvis and Me.

LIVE A LITTLE, LOVE A LITTLE, Elvis Presley, 1968

He had a thriving relationship with his father

Despite Vernon’s hurtful words at the hospital, the father and son maintained a close relationship which Vernon was most grateful for after Elvis died in August 1977. “A few days before he died, Elvis and I talked at Graceland for five or six hours about all sorts of things until I finally said, ‘Son, I have to go home now and get something to eat,’” Vernon told Good Housekeeping.


Vernon was actively involved in his son’s career, touring with him and actively managing his affairs alongside manager Colonel Tom Parker. He was said to have earned over $75,000 a year for working with the Rock and Roll king in his final years and took over the business at Graceland estate after his death. Vernon tragically died after a fatal heart attack in June 1979 and was buried in the same “Meditation Garden” as Elvis and Gladys.

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